VIDEO Sinners Like Us – To Rescue a Sinner Like Me

Sinners Like Us

This man welcomes sinners and eats with them. Luke 15:2

I have a friend—her name is Edith—who told me about the day she decided to follow Jesus.

Edith cared nothing for religion. But one Sunday morning she walked into a church near her apartment looking for something to satisfy her discontented soul. The text that day was Luke 15:1–2, which the pastor read from the King James Version: “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.”

That’s what it said, but this is what Edith heard: “This man receives sinners and Edith with them.” She sat straight up in her pew! Eventually she realized her mistake, but the thought that Jesus welcomed sinners—and that included Edith—stayed with her. That afternoon she decided to “draw near” to Jesus and listen to Him. She began to read the Gospels, and soon she decided to put her faith in Him and follow Him.

The religious folks of Jesus’s day were scandalized by the fact that He ate and drank with sinful, awful people. Their rules prohibited them from associating with such folk. Jesus paid no attention to their made-up rules. He welcomed the down-and-out and gathered them to Him, no matter how far gone they were.

It’s still true, you know: Jesus receives sinners and (your name).

Heavenly Father, we can’t thank You enough for the radical love of Your Son, who drew all of us outcasts and moral failures to Him, and made the way for us to come to You in joy and boldness.

God pursues us in our restlessness, receives us in our sinfulness, holds us in our brokenness.  Scotty Smith

By David H. Roper 

INSIGHT

The parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1–7) is the first in a series of parables about lost things. It’s followed by the parable of the lost coin (vv. 8–10) and the parable of the lost son, better known as the prodigal son (vv. 11–32).

Although each of the parables is about something lost, there’s also something in each that isn’t lost—the sheep safe in the pen, the remaining coins, and the elder son at home. Yet the shepherd, the woman, and the father are not content with what they have; their concern is for that which is lost.

Is someone in your life lost and waiting to be found by the Savior? Whom can you trust to God’s loving and searching ways?

J.R. Hudberg


To Rescue a Sinner Like Me

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Three Great Certainties That Gave Paul Peace In Prison

Rembrandt_St._Paul_in_Prison

Imagine you’re on death row. Your only crime is preaching the Gospel. Your execution looms over you like an ominous cloud. You are confined to a dingy, dark, dank dungeon.

To make matters worse, there is no plumbing in your cell, no toothpaste, no deodorant, no air conditioning, no Wi-Fi. You can only bathe occasionally. You look bad, you feel bad, you smell bad.

How can you have peace in this miserable situation? Oh, and by the way, you can request three things. What would you ask for?

That is the grim context of the Apostle Paul’s last recorded words in 2 Timothy 4. “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand” (2 Tim. 4:6, NKJV). By “departure” he means his execution. Paul already had one hearing before Nero, “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them” (2 Tim. 4:16). Apparently, he wasn’t even afforded a defense attorney. At his second hearing, he was condemned to death by beheading. Since Paul never mentioned the destruction of Jerusalem (70 A.D.) in his writings, scholars believe he was executed prior to that event.

The context reveals eight of Paul’s co-workers are absent:

1. Demas backslid and deserted him (vs. 10).
2. Crescens left for Galatia (vs. 10).
3. Titus went to Dalmatia (vs. 10).
4. Tychicus was sent to Ephesus (vs. 12).
5. Erastus stayed behind in Corinth (vs. 20).
6. Trophimus was left sick in Miletum (vs. 20).
7. & 8. Aquila and Priscilla ministered elsewhere (vs. 19).

(When I read this list, I’m grateful my parents simply named me Ben.) Paul indicated, “Only Luke is with me” (vs. 11). Luke was the “beloved physician” (Col. 4:14) who accompanied Paul and recorded his missionary journeys in the book of Acts and wrote the Gospel named after him. He was not a cellmate but a frequent visitor who treated Paul’s ailments with whatever medicine was available. Paul was lonely, isolated and uncertain of the future, yet he found peace in three very certain things:

1. The Presence of God: “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me . . .” (2 Tim. 4:17). Lacking human companionship, Paul found peace in divine fellowship. “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of God no matter what the conflict.” When Gideon built his altar, he called it Jehovah Shalom, which means “the Lord my peace” (Jgs. 6:24). Notice it wasn’t a peaceful time but a time of war. The Midianites invaded and oppressed Israel, but Gideon prophesied that God would bring peace even when there was turmoil. The Holy Spirit is our constant companion who walks with us through every fiery trial. Paul knew there is no substitute for God’s presence and, when God is with you, you can have peace in any situation.

2. The Providence of God: “And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work . . .” (2 Tim. 4:17-18). We assume Paul used “lion” here figuratively either of Nero or Satan, but he may have meant literally. During Nero’s reign of terror, Christians were often thrown to wild beasts in arenas for sport. Yet Paul never called himself Nero’s or Rome’s prisoner. He referred to himself as “the prisoner of Jesus Christ.” God controlled his fate, not Nero. Providence is the continual care God exercises over His creation and He alone has the final verdict in the affairs of mankind. Often God’s hand of providence prevents bad things from happening to us. Occasionally, He lifts the hedge and permits things we don’t understand to test our faith and help us grow. Either way, He is sovereignly in control and is working all things together for our good. Notice the word PROVIDE is hidden in the word “providence.” Breaking down the word “provision,” the prefix “pro” means “before,” while the root word “vision” means “to see.” Together they form “to see before.” Jehovah Jireh sees our need before we’re even aware of it and is already in our future making a way. Remember, God put the ram on Mount Moriah before Abraham arrived and realized he needed a substitute for Isaac. That wasn’t a coincidence; that was providence!

3. The Preservation of God: “And the Lord will . . . preserve me for His heavenly kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:18). The Greek word sozo is translated “preserve” here but is usually translated “save.” Wait a minute. Paul had been saved about thirty years at this point. Why would he say God was going to “save” him knowing he’d be martyred soon? He understood God would complete the process of salvation. Salvation is past, present and future. We were saved from the penalty of sin—justification, we are being saved from the power of sin—sanctification and we will be saved from the presence of sin—glorification. Paul believed God would finish what He started in him—“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). It’s good to know there is both saving and keeping power in the blood of Jesus (Jude 1:24).

So, what did Paul ask Timothy to bring him on death row?

1. Clothes to warm his body (a physical need—vs. 13a). He asked Timothy to come ASAP and bring his coat before winter (vs. 9, 21). Why? It gets cold in prison and shipping routes shut down due to rough seas. God promised to meet our physical needs (Phil. 4:19).

2. Scrolls to warm his mind (a spiritual need—vs. 13b). Prison is boring and monotonous. Paul, ever the scholar, wanted inspirational material to read to feed his mind and quench his spiritual thirst.

3. Friends to warm his heart (an emotional need—vs. 9, 11). He asked Timothy, his spiritual son and protégé, to come and bring Mark with him. Though Mark quit on him on his first missionary journey, Paul now sensed maturity in him—“He is helpful to me in my ministry”(NIV). (Incidentally, he later wrote the Gospel of Saint Mark.) Paul longed for human companionship. We are relational beings which God hardwired to need fellowship. None of us are lone rangers. We all need friends to lean on and learn from.

When turmoil invades your tranquil life, remember God gave Paul supernatural peace in prison. If Paul had peace on death row, we can have peace anytime, anywhere and in any situation. May the perfect peace that passes all understanding prevail in your life (Is. 26:3, Phil. 4:7).

https://barbwire.com/2018/07/29/three-great-certainties-that-gave-paul-peace-in-prison/

Our Rich Home in God’s Grace

Ephesians 1:11-14

Because of God’s grace, we are extremely wealthy people. No amount of earthly riches can compare. At salvation, God …

Freed us from sin’s power. Although the flesh remains, it no longer rules over us. As new creations indwelt by God’s Spirit, we have His power to resist temptation and to obey.

United us with our Savior. Since the moment we first believed, we’ve been living in Christ and He’s been living in us. And we are sealed in Him by the Spirit.

Made us part of God’s family. God has become our Father, and we are His adopted sons and daughters. Our spiritual family extends all over the world.

Translated us into the kingdom of light. The kingdom of darkness, which includes this world and all its unsaved inhabitants, is under Satan’s rule. (See Acts 26:18.) When someone receives Jesus Christ as Savior, his or her home becomes the kingdom of light (Col. 1:12-13). From then on, that person is a citizen of heaven, who is called to serve as Jesus’ ambassador to the unsaved (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Gave us an eternal inheritance. The precious promises of Scripture are one part of our birthright. More awaits us in heaven, where it cannot fade away or be defiled (1 Peter 1:4).

Started the sanctification process. To sanctify means “to set apart for God’s use” and “to make holy.” With our cooperation, the Spirit works to transform us into Jesus’ likeness.

When life is pressing you down, ponder the riches of divine grace. Discouragement will lift, and spiritual joy will take over.

Rightly Divide the Word

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

This command is for us to “give diligence” (Greek spoudazo) for God’s approval by “rightly dividing” the word of truth. That which is to be rightly divided is not in doubt: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The end goal is to “display yourself” as one who is, therefore, approved by God.

The key is to “rightly divide” the Scriptures. The Greek word orthotomeo, only used this one time, has several shades of meaning: to cut straight, to cut straight ways; to proceed on straight paths, hold a straight course; to make straight and smooth; to handle aright; to teach the truth directly and correctly.

Two passages emphasize the way to “divide” the Scriptures. When Isaiah asked rhetorical questions about how to learn and understand biblical knowledge, the answer was “precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:9-10). Thus:

Find the major pieces first.
Find the supporting elements next.
Find the pieces throughout the text.

Solomon, as the “wise preacher,” noted that one who would teach the people knowledge must have given “good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs” (Ecclesiastes 12:9).

Pay attention to the words (meanings, context).
Penetrate (research) the teaching (text first, then books).
Organize the information for teaching purposes.

This kind of study preparation requires a “workman”—one who is willing to give the diligence necessary to produce the powerful sayings built on the “word of truth.” If properly prepared, the workman will never be “ashamed.” HMM III

Understand What Happened? My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me

Psalm 22:1-3, 11-24, 27, 28, 30, 31

The most wonderful description of our Lords sufferings on the cross itself is contained in the 22nd Psalm, from which we will now select portions for reading.

The Psalm opens with our Lord’s cry upon the cross, and it may be regarded throughout as his soliloquy while bleeding on the tree.

Psalm 22:1

He prayed until he almost lost the power of articulate utterance.

Psalm 22:3

Whatever the Father may do, the Mediator will not murmur; he holds fast his faith in the holiness of God.

Psalm 22:11

None either could or would help him, he trod the winepress alone; yet was it a sore trial to find that all his disciples had forsaken him, and lover and friend were put far from him.

Psalm 22:12

The mighty ones in the crowd are here marked by the tearful eye of their victim.

Psalm 22:13

Like hungry cannibals they opened their blasphemous mouths as if to swallow the man they abhorred.

Psalm 22:14

As if distended upon a rack. Is it not most probable that the fastening of the hands and feet, and the jar occasioned by fixing the cross in the earth, may have dislocated the bones of the Crucified One? If this is not intended, we must refer the expression to that extreme weakness which would occasion relaxation of the muscles, and a general sense of parting asunder throughout the whole system

Psalm 22:14

Dr. Gill wisely observes: “If the heart of Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, melted at it, what heart can endure, or hands be strong, when God deals with men in his wrath?”

Psalm 22:16

Here he marks the more ignoble crowd, who, while less strong than their brutal leaders, were not less ferocious, for they were howling and barking like unclean and hungry dogs

Psalm 22:17-20

Meaning his soul, his life, which is most dear to every man. The original is “My only one,” and therefore is our soul dear, because it is our only soul. Would that all men made their souls their darlings, but many treat them as if they were not worth so much as the mire of the streets.

Psalm 22:22

The transition is very marked; darkness passed away from the Redeemers soul and light broke in. The ruling passion, strong in death, led him to joyous thoughts of his beloved people.

Psalm 22:23-28

Jesus rejoiced in the glorious reign of the Lord over all nations of men.

Psalm 22:31

Or “It is finished.” Salvation’s glorious work is done.

 

Of Course Jesus Will Come, Will You Be Ready?

And swore by him that liveth forever and ever, that there should be time no longer. (Revelation 10:6)

We are living in a period when God waits in grace and mercy. In His faithfulness, God is calling out a people for His name—those who will in faith cast their lot with Jesus Christ! Then, at a time known only to God, the end of this age will come, and Jesus Christ will return to earth for His own believing people—His Church.

The event is certain—the timing is uncertain. When the mighty angel of Revelation shouts his signal and raises his hand heavenward, it will be eternally too late for unrepentant sinners.

When the time comes in heaven for that announcement, three worlds will hear it. Heaven will hear it, with full agreement that the time of judgment has indeed come. The underworld of hell will hear the shout, and there will be fright. And on earth, the saints, the believing Body of Christ, will hear it and be glad! Meanwhile, the Church is not simply a religious institution. It is an assembly of redeemed sinners, men and women called and commissioned to spread Christ’s gospel to the ends of the earth.

 

An Appeal; Deliverance

“And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” Ps. 50:15

This is a promise indeed!

Here is an urgent occasion — “the day of trouble.” It is dark at noon on such a day, and every hour seems blacker than the one which came before it. Then is this promise in season: it is written for the cloudy day.

Here is condescending advice, “call upon me.” We ought not to need the exhortation: it should be our constant habit all the day and every day. What a mercy to have liberty to call upon God! What wisdom to make good use of it! How foolish to go running about to men! The Lord invites us to lay our case before Him, and surely we will not hesitate to do so.

Here is reassuring encouragement: “I will deliver thee.” Whatever the trouble may be, the Lord makes no exceptions, but promises full, sure, happy deliverance. He will Himself work out our deliverance by His own hand. We believe it, and the Lord honors faith.

Here is an ultimate result: “Thou shalt glorify me. Ah! that we will do most abundantly. When He has delivered us we will loudly praise Him; and as He is sure to do it, let us begin to glorify Him at once.

 

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