VIDEO The Last Reformation, The Beginning (2016)

Apr 13, 2016

This documentary is changing the world right now! It shows how life must have been for the first disciples of Jesus who walked around on earth and why the gospel flooded the whole earth. It shows what a life of a Christian should look like – a life where signs and wonders are following us.

Some believe one must speak in tongues to prove you are saved. The Bible is clear that speaking in tongues is the least of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit.

Leading people to Jesus is something we all should do.

Praying for healing is something we all can do.

 

Bonus videos, DVD and more: http://www.tlrmovie.com.

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The Duty of Honor

Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. Romans 13:7

 

Sadly, it is no longer uncommon for speakers or writers to refer to the President of the United States (or anyone in a position of leadership) in a dishonoring or disrespectful manner. Gone are the days of decorum when courtesy, honor, and propriety took precedence over personal desires. Honor always has a place—a place that should be preserved.

King Saul of Israel was a king who failed in his responsibilities as king. It would have been easy for his successor, David, to point out Saul’s flaws after he died in battle. But David wrote a eulogy for Saul (2 Samuel 1:17-27) in which he pointed out Saul’s strengths: his bravery in battle and his esteem among his subjects. In other words, David looked for ways to honor God’s anointed. Just as God put Saul in place in Israel, He puts civil rulers in place as well (Romans 13:1-7). Regardless of what we think of God’s appointees, we honor them because we honor Him.

If there is someone in whom you have lost confidence or by whom you have been hurt, look for ways to honor that person as a way to honor God. Bearing the image of God makes everyone worthy of honor.

Let’s be the people who, even as we speak with conviction, are marked by kindness and respect. Russell Moore

Refocusing on Jesus

John 15:4-6

Today’s passage urges us to stay connected to Jesus. The image of Him as the vine and believers as the branches helps us understand that apart from Him, we can do nothing. It is possible to receive His salvation yet still act out of the flesh, distracted or separated from His direction and power. All believers find their focus wandering at times, but some have strayed so far that it’s hard to see their way back.

If you discover your heart is loyal to something besides Christ, it’s vital to acknowledge that this has happened. Identify which attitudes or activities are drawing you away from Him. Then repent and get whatever help is necessary to set aside diversions, insecurity, worldly desires, or anything else that draws your attention away from the Lord.

Once the distraction is gone, refocus on Jesus by reading the Word, praying, learning from biblical messages, and spending time with godly friends who will encourage you. After living outside of God’s best for a while, it can be hard to discipline yourself to function as the Lord desires. But remember that those who abide in God will bear much fruit (John 15:5).

Don’t delay. As Hebrews 12:1 urges, “lay aside every encumbrance” so you can run with endurance the race set before you. Acknowledge anything that is keeping you from living passionately and fully for Jesus Christ. Following His plan—in His strength—is the way to peace, joy, and contentment in life. Ask for His help and commit to action. There is nothing like living fully for God.

Witnesses of the Resurrection

“Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, . . . Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1:21-22)

The most important event since creation was the resurrection of Christ, and it was vital that the witness of His chosen apostles focus especially on this great event. They must believe with confidence in His bodily resurrection, having been with Him throughout His ministry, heard His predictions of the resurrection, then seen the infallible proofs thereof, especially the empty tomb and His post-resurrection appearances. Both the original 11 and Matthias, chosen to replace Judas, satisfied these requirements.

Then after the coming of God’s Holy Spirit at Pentecost, “with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection . . . and great grace was upon them all” (4:33). The resurrection proved that Christ was the Creator and Savior, for only the Creator of life could defeat death.

Paul also saw the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, and thus he also could be an apostle. “Am I not an apostle? . . . have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” he could say (1 Corinthians 9:1). Only those who had seen the risen Lord and been specifically chosen by Him could be true apostles, for they must be credible witnesses of His resurrection.

And that they were! Peter could say, “We are witnesses of all things which he did . . . whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up” (Acts 10:39-40). And Paul could say, “God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them . . . who are his witnesses” (13:30-31).

Yes, the apostles were true witnesses of Christ’s resurrection, and multitudes have received eternal salvation because they were! HMM

“The heathen shall fear the name of the Lord.”

1 Samuel 6:1-10, 12-15, 19-21

1 Samuel 6:3

Right wisely did they judge that some acknowledgment of their fault must accompany the return of the ark. If men would be forgiven they must in all possible ways make reparation: even heathens feel this.

1 Samuel 6:6

It is probable that a plague of mice had devoured their crops while hemorrhoids had afflicted their bodies, they therefore acknowledged Jehovah’s hand in both judgments.

1 Samuel 6:12

How wondrously God guided these poor beasts; they went of their own accord away from their calves, lamenting them as they went along, and without a driver they chose the road to the nearest city of the Levites. Who can doubt a special providence in this matter?

1 Samuel 6:13

Astonished above measure they must have been to see it brought without human hands to them. God would have them see his hand conspicuously revealed.

1 Samuel 6:19

God who smote his enemies for their blasphemy, also smites his own people for their presumption. He will be had in reverence of all them that are about him. Let us never trifle with holy things.

1 Samuel 6:20

Thus instead of confessing their own sin, they laid the blame at the door of God’s exceeding great holiness, even as bad men nowadays complain of the preciseness of religion.

 

Have You Ever Wondered What Songs They Sang in New Testament Times?

2 Timothy 2:11-13

Have you ever wondered what kind of worship services took place in the first-century Church? What did the early believers do during their praise and worship? How did they take their offerings? How did they pray for the sick? How loud did they pray in the Spirit? Or how did they flow in the anointing and gifts of the Holy Spirit? Imagine the kind of vitality that must have filled their church services!

In Second Timothy 2:11-13, Paul gives us a glimpse into one of those Early Church meetings. As he writes to Timothy, Paul actually quotes a literal song or hymn that the early believers sang when they met together to worship. “Hymnic literature” is what scholars call Second Timothy 2:11-13. In other words, these verses are an actual quote of a real New Testament hymn. This song was so well known that Paul included its lyrics in this epistle. It was most likely sung by Paul, Timothy, the apostle John, as well as thousands of others.

In addition to this hymn in Second Timothy 2:11-13, a second hymn is found in Colossians 1:15-19 that proclaims the Lordship of Jesus Christ and His dominion over all the universe. In both of these instances in the New Testament when “hymnic literature” is used, the quote is from a “hymn” that was well known throughout the Church. These hymns were intended to be more than mere music; they were tools of instruction that chronicled the true thinking of the Early Church.

But when Paul was writing Second Timothy, he was trying to encourage Timothy to bravely face the challenges that were before him. By using this hymn, it is almost as if Paul is saying, “Timothy, I know how to get you to understand the point I am trying to make to you! Do you remember that powerful song your congregation sings every week? You surely know the one I’m talking about. You know, the one that goes like this….” Then Paul quotes the familiar hymn from Second Timothy 2:11-13, which says:

 

It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:

If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he will also deny us:

If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

 

Look at the first line of the song, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him….” Can you imagine getting together in church to sing about martyrdom? This was not an allegorical speech; this was reality for these early believers! Persecution and death were so imminent that Christians actually included these subjects in their worship services!

One great historian said, “Let me write the songs for a nation, and I can determine the history of that nation.” In like manner, the leaders of the Early Church understood that to prepare themselves and the people to live bravely for the Lord, they had to use every available tool to instill bravery in the ranks.

One tool these early believers used was hymns. Just as we leave church each week with a song in our hearts and minds, these early believers left their church services with songs of bravery echoing in their souls—and they would sing those songs all week long to encourage themselves!

The first line of the song in verse 11 says, “… If we be dead with him….” This phrase comes from the Greek word sunapothnesko, which refers to a literal partnership in death with someone else. This means the first line of this hymn could be rendered, “… If we join Him as a full-fledged partner in death….” Imagine trying to put that to music! Even more, imagine trying to teach your congregation to sing those words with conviction!

The song goes on, “… we shall also live with him.” This phrase is based on the Greek word sudzao, which conveys again the idea of partnership. However, this time it means to join someone else in life, not in death. This line of the song could be taken as a kind of faith declaration that proclaims, “… We will join Him in the same kind of life that He now lives.” Singing this kind of song over and over again worked bravery into the fiber of the Early Church.

Today we still need songs that produce brave warriors. Oh, that the Church today was committed enough to sing this type of song and mean it! Instead, most people would be offended by such lyrics and would refuse to even participate in singing them. Others would claim that these lyrics were filled with doubt and unbelief. But these lines represent powerful faith, not unbelief! They basically declare, “Come hell or high water, we’re in this to stay! If they kill us, that’s all right, because we will soon join Jesus in His glorious, new, resurrected life!”

The next line of the song says, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him…” (v. 12). The phrase “if we suffer” once again conveys the idea of partnership. Literally translated, it means, “If we join Him in His suffering and suffer the same way He did….”

Notice that this line has no note of sorrow or pain about these Christians’ suffering. They knew that feeling sorry for themselves wouldn’t help the situation, so they faced it bravely in the power of the Spirit. Although they didn’t seek to suffer, they weren’t afraid to suffer if it was forced upon them because of their faith.

These were the lyrics of a fearless people. They were determined to win the victory, regardless of the price they had to pay. Therefore, the song continues, “… we shall also reign with him….” The phrase “reign with him” is the Greek word sumbasileuo, which can be translated “… we will reign and rule like nobility with Him….” These believers had their sights fixed on ruling with Jesus! To reach that goal, they were willing to face and fight any foe!

Now comes the hard part of the song—the part that carries consequences. It says, “… If we deny him, he also will deny us.” Can you imagine looking someone straight in the eyes to sing to him, “If you deny the Lord, the Lord will deny you too”?

These early believers saw no room for the excuses of defectors in the army of the Lord. Either a person was with Jesus, or he was against Him. Furthermore, when a brother in the Lord defected, the early believers didn’t sweep it under the carpet. Neither did they simply pat the errant brother on the back and say, “Well, now, come back and visit us again some time.” They saw themselves as a mighty army, and those who deserted the ranks were not worthy of honor or privileges.

This militant lack of tolerance couldn’t be any plainer than in this line of the hymn they sang. It was a reflection of who they were and how they thought. They had no tolerance for defectors!

From the content of this hymn, it is quite clear that these early saints were extremely serious about what they believed and about the Kingdom of God. Their Christian walk wasn’t just “another thing” for them to do in life. Christianity was their “all in all,” for they had given their lives—lock, stock, and barrel—over to this cause.

Please understand that this hymn was not a theological statement; rather, it was a reflection of the hour in which these believers lived and the attitude that they possessed. Church songs are always indicative of the specific period in which they were written. The hymn writer, whoever he or she was, chronicled the messages preached to the congregation and put them to music so the saints could sing them at home, at work, in their leisure time, or at church gatherings.

I can almost hear the first-century saints singing the lines of this hymn now! Can you can hear them raising their voices and bravely singing?

If we are killed like He was killed,

Then we shall live again as He now lives;

If suffering is forced upon us,

Then we’ll reign with Him like nobility;

If we deny or forsake Him,

He will deny us of our rewards;

If we believe not or grow faint-hearted,

Still He abideth faithful.

He cannot, cannot, cannot deny—Himself!

As time moves on and the coming of the Lord draws nearer, God expects you to step forward and take your place in His modern-day army. It is very possible that in the days and decades to come, there will be clashes between the kingdoms of this world and the Kingdom of God. Are you ready for this? Are you ready to follow the voice of our Commander-in-Chief? Are you committed to getting in the fight and staying in it until the victory is won? Are you a true soldier in the army of the Lord?

Take advantage of the time you have right now to strengthen yourself spiritually, to become dressed in the whole armor of God, and to develop a winning attitude. It is a fact that attitude is 99 percent of every fight; therefore, being mentally equipped is very important for your survival and victory.

The believers in the Early Church maintained the attitude to never give in, give up, or surrender to defeat. As a result, they conquered the world in which they lived.

Do you have the same kind of attitude that will assure your victory in life? If not, you need to start developing that attitude in your life immediately! There is too much at stake for you to allow yourself to be defeated because you didn’t possess a right attitude!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, help me have an attitude that is determined to win every struggle and fight that I face in life! You have given me spiritual power, spiritual weapons, and the wonderful Word of God. It is a fact that You have equipped me with everything I need to win. Now the victory depends on me and my attitude. Help me maintain the attitude that never gives in, never gives up, and never surrenders to defeat. As I make up my mind to take hold of Your power, Your spiritual weapons, and Your Word, it is guaranteed that I will push the devil clear out of my life. So please help me to make this decision and to do it quickly!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am following the voice of my Commander-in-Chief. I will go where Jesus says to go, and I will do exactly what He tells me to do. I am committed to get in the fight and stay in it until the victory is won! I have an attitude that never gives in, never gives up, and never surrenders to defeat. God has given me spiritual power, spiritual weapons, and the promises of His Word on which I can stand. He has equipped me with everything I need to win—and now the victory depends on me!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. What do you think about this song that the believers sang in the first century? What do the lyrics of this song tell you about the early believers and their attitude about life and about living in victory?
  2. Do you have the necessary attitude for winning the victory in your life and circumstances? Can you say with confidence that you are committed to staying in the fight until the victory is yours and the long-awaited prize is finally in your hands?
  3. Is your Christian walk just “another thing” for you to do in life, or is it your “all in all,” as it was in the lives of these early believers? Are you giving your life—lock, stock, and barrel—to the pursuit of your walk with God?

 

The Second Reformation

The first reformation put the Bible in the hands of laymen; the second reformation will place the ministry in the hands of laymen.” – John R. Stott

 

Ever wonder why we are so sluggish in reaching the world for Christ? If so, consider this:

 

A few years ago I was attending a conference of Christian leaders, when a businessman stood up and asked, “How many of you came to Christ through a full-time Christian worker?” Out of the 5,000 delegates, (98% of whom were “full-time” Christian workers) about 50 people stood up.

 

He then asked, “How many of you came to Christ through a layperson?” The rest stood up.

 

Historian K. S. Latourette observes that throughout the history of the church, whenever the Word of God was put into the hands of laymen, the Gospel tended to spread like a prairie fire. When however, the Word remained in the hands of the clergy, evangelism ground to a near halt.

 

It is significant to note that Jesus’ primary approach to world evangelization was to selectively invest His life in 12 laymen for three years. When He had completed His task of discipling, He then commissioned them to go out and repeat the process. The command of course applies to all of us:

 

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you… ” (Matthew 28:19-20a)

 

They obeyed, and that next generation of believers “turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6)

 

So, which method, do you think would prove more effective in impacting the world with the Gospel: (1) 20 Billy Grahams daily reaching 20,000 people for Christ, or (2) One layperson discipling another for a year, after which the two of them would split off and each disciple another, etc., etc.?

 

The answer: In 30 years the Graham method would reach 2.9 billion people with the Gospel, while the one-to-one approach would reach 8.5 billion.

 

QUESTION: So, tell me, are you, as a lay person taking Christ’s “Great Commission” seriously by investing your life in others with a view toward their salvation and/or spiritual maturity? If not, what explanation do you plan to give your Heavenly Father the day you face Him in eternity?