VIDEO Red Letters

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away .Matthew 24:35

J. Oswald Sanders pointed out that the teachings of Jesus were simple, vital, ethical, practical, original, psychologically correct, and, of course, theologically true—in every way. The teachings of Jesus were true because He is the truth, so we can know Him. He fulfills the truth, so we can trust Him. He tells the truth, so we obey Him. He models the truth, so we can emulate Him. He predicts the truth, so we can expect Him. And He comforts us with the truth, so we can love Him.

Reading through all the Gospels in one sitting would take some time, but if you have a Bible with the words of Jesus printed in red, try sitting down to read those words. Go from passage to passage, simply reading the red-letter words of Jesus. It’s a wonderful exercise. As an alternative, spend extra time this week reading the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5–7. It’s the greatest speech, sermon, or discourse ever given.

When the red letters of Jesus become the read letters of Jesus, our soul is enriched. The world will one day end but His words will never pass away.

Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. Jerome


The Abomination of Desolation | Matthew 24 | John MacArthur | The Olivet Discourse Series

The Smiling Jesus

God . . . has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. Hebrews 1:9

 

If you were to play the part of Jesus in a movie, how would you approach the role? That was the challenge faced by Bruce Marchiano, who played Jesus in the 1993 Visual Bible movie Matthew. Knowing that millions of viewers would draw conclusions about Jesus based on his work, the weight of getting Christ “right” felt overwhelming. He fell to his knees in prayer and begged Jesus for—well, for Jesus.

Bruce gained insight from the first chapter of Hebrews, where the writer tells us how God the Father set the Son apart by anointing Him “with the oil of joy” (1:9). This kind of joy is one of celebration—a gladness of connection to the Father expressed wholeheartedly. Such joy ruled in Jesus’ heart throughout His life. As Hebrews 12:2 describes it, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Taking his cue from this scriptural expression, Bruce offered a uniquely joy-filled portrayal of his Savior. As a result, he became known as “the smiling Jesus.” We too can dare to fall to our knees and “beg Jesus for Jesus.” May He so fill us with His character that people around us see the expression of His love in us!

By:  Elisa Morgan

Where Love and Justice Meet

Romans 3:21-26

The Lord can’t have a dilemma, but if He could, it would be this: How can a loving God justly forgive sinners? Although God loves the people He created, He can’t ignore, excuse, or arbitrarily forgive their transgressions, since His justice demands that sin’s penalty be paid.

The solution was the cross, where divine love and justice met. Because God loves us, He sent His Son to earth to shed His precious blood on the cross in payment for our sin debt (Rom. 6:23). Since only a sacrifice without defect was acceptable (Lev. 22:20), Jesus alone qualified: As God in human flesh, He was the only person who ever lived a sinless life. At the cross, our sin was laid on Him, and He died in our place. This satisfied the Father’s justice “so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

From our perspective, salvation is a free gift offered to everyone who confesses Jesus as Savior and Lord. However, for the Son and the heavenly Father, it was a very costly transaction. Therefore, we should never take our salvation for granted or think lightly of it. This gift is our most precious possession.

One Righteous Man

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” (1 John 3:7)

There is an old spiritual song that has the phrase “ev’ry body talkin’ ‘bout heav’n ain’t goin’ there.” That’s a good summary statement of biblical truth—and worth repeating. As our text puts it, the righteous man does righteousness. But there is more to this principle.

A Righteous Man Knows He Is Righteous: As a young man, King David was very conscious of his righteousness. David knew that he had “clean hands,” that he “kept the ways of the LORD,” and that he had neither “done wickedly” nor “departed” from God. David was also careful to put the “judgments” and the “statutes” of God out in front of his thoughts. “Therefore,” he said, “hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness” (Psalm 18:20-24).

A Righteous Man Loves Righteousness: The opening stanza of the majestic Psalm 119 makes this statement: “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways” (Psalm 119:2-3). The apostle John is even more succinct: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).

A Righteous Man Resolves to Live Righteously: “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way…I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person” (Psalm 101:2-4).

What, Too Timid to Tell the Truth?

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

—Acts 4:13

 

The contemporary moral climate does not favor a faith as tough and fibrous as that taught by our Lord and His apostles. The delicate, brittle saints being produced in our religious hothouses today are hardly to be compared with the committed, expendable believers who once gave their witness among men. And the fault lies with our leaders. They are too timid to tell the people all the truth. They are now asking men to give to God that which costs them nothing.

Our churches these days are filled (or one-quarter filled) with a soft breed of Christian that must be fed on a diet of harmless fun to keep them interested. About theology they know little. Scarcely any of them have read even one of the great Christian classics, but most of them are familiar with religious fiction and spine-tingling films. No wonder their moral and spiritual constitution is so frail. Such can only be called weak adherents of a faith they never really understood.   TIC076

Lord, send the Holy Spirit to renew within us a depth and seriousness in our pulpits. Give us boldness in our preaching. Amen.

 

The Interchange of Love

There is one God; and there is none other but he: and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul —Mark 12:32-33

 

Having been made in His image, we have within us the capacity to know God and the instinct that we should worship Him. The very moment that the Spirit of God has quickened us to His life in regeneration, our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition!

That response within our beings, a response to forgiveness and pardon and regeneration, signals the miracle of the heavenly birth—without which we cannot see the kingdom of God.

Yes, God desires and is pleased to communicate with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the souls of redeemed men and women is the throbbing heart of the New Testament religion. WHT025

The one who is caught by [love] is bound by the strongest of all bondsand yet it is a pleasant burden….Nothing makes you so much God’s, nor God so much yours, as this sweet bond. The one who has found this way will seek no other. BME036

 

The Privilege of Stewardship

Galatians 4:7

Get a bunch of Christians together to talk about stewardship and their conversation flows naturally into the language of obligation: “It is giving back to God what we owe Him.”

This is true. But stewardship is rooted in the rich soil of privilege, not the rocky soil of obligation. The Apostle Paul wrote, “So then, you are no longer a slave, but a son. And since you are His son, God will give you all He has for His sons” (Galatians 4:7 GNB).

This is where stewardship begins: in the family of God into which we have been adopted in Christ, in the realm where gifts are more important than obligations. In this soil true stewardship thrives. It is a matter for sons and daughters, not slaves.

God responded to man’s hopeless condition by coming in the person of Jesus. It was the supreme act of love, with the cross as proof. Did God want us to feel obligated because of what He had done? Of course not. He wanted us to feel loved, and He trusted in the strength of His love to draw us to Him. How we invest our lives (our stewardship) is not firstly how we respond to divine orders, but rather how we are drawn by love.

Yes, God is the owner and we are the managers (stewards) of His resources. But that reality is contained in a greater reality: God is our Father and we are His family. He is not interested in asserting ownership and squeezing the last ounce of legal obligation out of us. He is interested in having us in the family where we can find fulfillment.

Stewardship is the forfeiture of ownership and therefore the way to true happiness. It opens the door to one of the greatest privileges of the Christian life: freedom from the power of possessions. Christian stewards have this freedom because they have a family that shares and a God who gives.

Consider also what activates the Christian’s labor: the needs of others. This motivation characterizes the family of God. You will remember that in the early Jerusalem Church, “There was not a needy person among them… for [distribution was made] to anyone as he had need” (Acts 4:34, 35).

The most important thing to say about this matter of stewardship is that it is a splendid privilege granted to God’s own: the privilege of owning nothing—and therefore having everything, and the privilege of giving to others.

Philip D. Needham, The War Cry