Everlasting Life. Guaranteed!

Everlasting Life. Guaranteed!

“He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” ~Jesus

Two men were discussing what happens after death here on earth and one of them said that since they were both Christians, it was certain that they would not really die but pass from this life into the next, living forever with God. The second man, however expressed doubts about that, saying he sure hoped it was true.

        Are you a Christian? Have you expressed faith in Jesus Christ? If so, the Bible promises that you will spend eternity with God. The following are Bible verses that give all Christians assurance of eternal life with God.

        John 11:25-26  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.”

        John 10:10-11  “I came that [you] may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

        1 Peter 1:3-5  “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.”

        John 10:27-30  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

For those who express doubts about eternal life with God, such as the second man above, notice in these verses, that Jesus is very specific about who will experience eternal life with Him, “My sheep!” If you believe that Jesus is the Savior then you are a member of His flock and your eternal destination is secured, not by what you’ve done but by your faith in Christ (Rom. 10:13)

        John 6:35-40  Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. . . For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

        John 6:47  “I assure you, anyone who believes in Me already has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life. . .I am the Living Bread that came down out of heaven.”

        Romans 8:38  “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”

        John 3:16  “ God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.

        It is by faith that we are saved and our sins forgiven. It is by that same faith that we believe in eternal life with our Heavenly Father…without exception. Sometimes, after taking Christ as Savior, we begin to doubt our salvation, usually because of what we’ve done or a traumatic personal experience. But consider this before you sink into the abyss of doubt and depression, would God send Jesus as the virgin-born Savior, to such a horrible death on the cross followed by the majestic resurrection from the dead, ultimately to take the seat of honor at His right hand and then cross out our names from the Lambs Book of Life because of poor performance? Don’t be fooled. Don’t listen to your fears. Don’t allow Satan’s demonic forces to fill your heart with uncertainty and self-loathing. We cannot be taken from God’s hand. EVER!

 

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Forgiveness (an incredible true story)

Forgiveness (an incredible true story)

The scene is a courtroom trial in South Africa.

A frail black woman rises slowly to her feet. She is something over 70 years of age. Facing across the room are several white security police officers, one of whom, Mr van der Broek, has just been tried and found implicated in the murders of both the woman’s son and her husband some years before. He had come to the woman’s home, taken her son, shot him at point blank range and then set the young man’s body on fire while he and his officers partied nearby.

Several years later, van der Broek and his cohorts had returned to take away her husband as well. For many months she heard nothing of his whereabouts. Then almost two years after her husband’s disappearance, van de Broek came back to fetch the woman herself.

How vividly she remembers that evening, going to a place beside a river where she was shown her husband, bound and beaten, but still strong in spirit, lying on a pile of wood. The last words heard from his lips as the officers poured gasoline over his body and set him aflame were, “Father forgive them…”

Now the woman stands in the courtroom and listens to the confessions offered by Mr van de Broek. A member of the South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission turns to her and asks, “So what do you want? How should justice be done to this man who has so brutally destroyed your family?”

“I want three things,” begins the old woman calmly, but confidently. “I want first to be taken to the place where my husband’s body was burned so that I can gather up the dust and give his remains a decent burial.”

She pauses, then continues “My husband and son were my only family, I want secondly, therefore, for Mr van der Broek to become my son. I would like him to come twice a month to the ghetto and spend a day with me so that I can pour out on him whatever love I still have remaining in me.

“And finally,” she says, “I want a third thing. This is also the wish of my husband. And so, I would kindly ask someone to come to my side and lead me across the courtroom so that I can take Mr van der Broek in my arms and embrace him and let him know that he is truly forgiven.”

As the court assistants come to lead the elderly woman across the room, Mr van der Broek, overwhelmed by what he has just heard, faints. As he does, those in the courtroom, family, friends neighbours – all victims of decades of oppression and injustice – begin to sing, softly but assuredly. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” (From J.John & Mark Stibbe)

Do I Understand?

Do I Understand?

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

When I arise each morning is Jesus among my first thoughts? Do I anticipate spending time in the Bible, praying, thinking of how I might be used of God this day? Do I actually believe that my prayers will make a difference or is it all a great guessing game, hopeful of the final outcome which is a place in heaven?

At work, do my fellow staff/employees/executives know I am a follower of Jesus Christ? When I am tempted to sin are my initial thoughts those of calling on the Holy Spirit to rescue me, to remind me of the verses in the Bible I can use for refuge, for consolation, for holiness? And when angered or frustrated, do I pray for help or follow my feelings?

If you see yourself on the negative side of these situations, as not instantly calling on God for help and rescue, then you are among the many, not the few. Thank God for 1 John 2:1-6 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (NLT)

In verse two, the King James version says, “And He is the propitiation for our sins”.The word propitiation has to do with the removal of divine wrath. Jesus’ death is the means that turns God’s wrath from the sinner. 2 Cor. 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (NLT)

Hebrews 4:14-16 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (NLT)

Today we are living under the New Covenant, established by Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, not under the law, attempting to refrain from certain things and offering sacrifices through the legalistic, priestly system.

Galatians 2:16 However, we know that a person isn’t made righteous by the works of the Law but rather through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We ourselves believed in Christ Jesus so that we could be made righteous by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the Law—because no one will be made righteous by the works of the Law. (CEB)

Isaiah 53:6 All of us were like sheep that were lost, each of us going his own way. But the Lord made the punishment fall on him, the punishment all of us deserved. (GNT)

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. (NLT)

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that He will lift you up in His own good time. Leave all your worries with Him, because He cares for you. (GNT)

Where does this leave us then? How do we deal with our everyday lives in a way that is pleasing to God? There is really only one way as laid out in Hebrews 12:1 As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. (GNT)

As usual, God has provided everything we need to walk with Him in victory and life-transforming peace. His love is beyond human understanding and changes all who claim it for themselves. He is determined to guide us through all trials and temptations, washing and rewashing us in the cleansing power of His Word.

1 Peter 1:22-25 Now you can have real love for everyone because your souls have been cleansed from selfishness and hatred when you trusted Christ to save you; so see to it that you really do love each other warmly, with all your hearts. For you have a new life. It was not passed on to you from your parents, for the life they gave you will fade away. This new one will last forever, for it comes from Christ, God’s ever-living Message to men. Yes, our natural lives will fade as grass does when it becomes all brown and dry. All our greatness is like a flower that droops and falls; but the Word of the Lord will last forever. And his message is the Good News that was preached to you.

Extricating our lives from the world and its processes is not only our biggest challenge as followers of Christ, it is essential in demonstrating how we’ve been cleansed and changed by our faith. When we trusted Christ to save our souls, He absolutely did and then gave us eternal life. Our natural lives must fade and God has given us the Holy Spirit to assist us in that process.

No Separation or Condemnation

No Separation or Condemnation

 

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“There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus.”  Rom 8:1

The pastor was challenging his study group with one of his favorite quotes, “Either you believe the Bible or you don’t!” When asked what he meant, his answer was short and to the point, “The Bible is our life guide and in order for us to fully benefit from this guide we must believe it and believe all of it. In spite of our feelings or occasional doubts.”

From the back of the group, an older man with a well-worn Bible said, “Many years ago my father told me that we can’t read the Bible buffet style, pick and choose. And I’ve always remembered his advice.”

After the study, a middle-aged woman with tears in her eyes came up to the pastor, telling him she just couldn’t get over some of her past sins. She said they haunted her frequently, usually when she decided to give them to the Lord.

“Alice, Romans 8:1 says, ‘There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death!’ You will notice,” he continued, “it does not say most of the time or some of the time or, when you get your act together. The only condition is that you accept Jesus as your Savior. And I know you have done that.”

The Holy Spirit is mentioned just four times in the first seven chapters of Romans. In chapter eight alone, He is mentioned 19 times! Our perfect relationship with the indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to walk along with our Savior, forging through all the obstacles and trials of life, depending on Him not only for guidance but as an intercessor for our prayers.

Romans 8:26-27 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

Have you ever been told something like this, “If you do your work, you can go with your friends;” “If you are serious, I will marry you.” These are conditional statements, based on following through…if you do this, I will do that. God gives us such conditions in Romans Eight.

Romans 8:8-13 Those who obey their human nature cannot please God. But you do not live as your human nature tells you to; instead, you live as the Spirit tells you to if, in fact, God’s Spirit lives in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ lives in you, the Spirit is life for you because you have been put right with God, even though your bodies are going to die because of sin. If the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from death, lives in you, then he who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies by the presence of his Spirit in you. So then, my friends, we have an obligation, but it is not to live as our human nature wants us to. For if you live according to your human nature, you are going to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death your sinful actions, you will live.

Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Romans 8:23-25 But it is not just creation alone which groans; we who have the Spirit as the first of God’s gifts also groan within ourselves as we wait for God to make us his children and set our whole being free. For it was by hope that we were saved; but if we see what we hope for, then it is not really hope. For who of us hopes for something we see? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Romans 8:31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Our assignment, should we choose to accept it, is clearly laid out in this chapter; that is to walk according to the Spirit, not according to the flesh. This concept is so serious, God emphasizes it to us in verse six: “For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.”

And if you experience those times when life seems too difficult or challenging remember verse 18 which says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.”

Another life-saving, powerful verse is Romans 28: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Tape this one above the bathroom mirror, kitchen sink, and front door. Notice it says, ALL THINGS. You may have been tempted to disbelieve this verse when life seemed to fall in on itself—but do not quit. God is telling us that all things work together for good. Our job is to believe it, to hope for what we do not see!

If you find yourself feeling alone and forgotten, wondering how you might escape your heavy burdens, remember verse 34 which says: “Who then will condemn us? Will Christ? No! For he is the one who died for us and came back to life again for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us there in heaven.” Jesus is the original 24/7 experience. He never sleeps. He always intercedes for you and me.

Finally, Romans 8:36-39 closes with a tremendous series of verses that assure us of an eternal attachment to our Lord: “Who then can ever keep Christ’s love from us? When we have trouble or calamity, when we are hunted down or destroyed, is it because he doesn’t love us anymore? And if we are hungry or penniless or in danger or threatened with death, has God deserted us?

No, for the Scriptures tell us that for his sake we must be ready to face death at every moment of the day—we are like sheep awaiting slaughter; but despite all this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us. For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.”

Remember: In Christ there is No Condemnation. No Separation. God’s love endures forever.

God’s Merciful Plan

God’s Merciful Plan

 

God has told us his secret reason for sending Christ, a plan he decided on in mercy long ago; and this was his purpose: that when the time is ripe he will gather us all together from wherever we are—in heaven or on earth—to be with him in Christ forever. Moreover, because of what Christ has done, we have become gifts to God that he delights in, for as part of God’s sovereign plan we were chosen from the beginning to be his, and all things happen just as he decided long ago. God’s purpose in this was that we should praise God and give glory to him for doing these mighty things for us, who were the first to trust in Christ.

And because of what Christ did, all you others too, who heard the Good News about how to be saved, and trusted Christ, were marked as belonging to Christ by the Holy Spirit, who long ago had been promised to all of us Christians. His presence within us is God’s guarantee that he really will give us all that he promised; and the Spirit’s seal upon us means that God has already purchased us and that he guarantees to bring us to himself. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God. Ephesians 1:9-14