VIDEO Love and Eternity

And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:40

 

Our modern concept of eternity is mostly negative: “I waited in line for an eternity at the DMV!” “It takes forever for my kids to clean their rooms!” In other words, eternity usually is an experience we hope will end sooner rather than later.

Instead of it being something we hope ends soon, eternity in Scripture is an experience that will never end—and happily so! Eternity, according to the Bible, is consistent with the character of God—who is love (1 John 4:8, 16). In fact, God so loved us that He gave His only Son in order that we “should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). But here is a truth about eternal life that we often fail to realize: It begins now. Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

Thank God today for the eternal life you have by knowing Him through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

You made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless till they rest in you. Augustine


John 6:22-6:71 – Skip Heitzig

The Crowd

I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for [my people’s] sake. Romans 9:3

“Men have been found to resist the most powerful monarchs and to refuse to bow down before them,” observed philosopher and author Hannah Arendt (1906–75). She added, “[B]ut few indeed have been found to resist the crowd, to stand up alone before misguided masses, to face their implacable frenzy without weapons.” As a Jew, Arendt witnessed this firsthand in her native Germany. There’s something terrifying about being rejected by the group.

The apostle Paul experienced such rejection. Trained as a Pharisee and rabbi, his life was turned upside down when he encountered the resurrected Jesus. Paul had been traveling to Damascus to persecute those who believed in Christ (Acts 9). After his conversion, the apostle found himself rejected by his own people. In his letter we know as 2 Corinthians, Paul reviewed some of the troubles he faced at their hands, among them “beatings” and “imprisonments” (6:5).   

Rather than responding to such rejection with anger or bitterness, Paul longed for them to come to know Jesus too. He wrote, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people” (Romans 9:2–3).

As God has welcomed us into His family, may He also enable us to invite even our adversaries into relationship with Him.

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

How have you responded when you experienced exclusion? What makes rejection so hard?

Loving God, help me to point others to You and a place in Your kingdom despite personal hurt or disappointment.

Learn more about the life and ministry of Paul.

God’s Greatness: A Source of Comfort

The Lord is bigger than any problem you face today Psalm 145:1-21

Never take God’s greatness for granted, as it’s a source of comfort for all who take refuge in Him. The Lord is immeasurably beyond us in all ways, yet He says, “I dwell in a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit” (Isaiah 57:15). If you’re a Christian, He’s your refuge, sustainer, and protector.  

Comfort and strength for life come as you dwell on God’s amazing attributes. 

He is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-12). Even when you feel isolated or friendless, you’re not alone. In fact, after placing trust in Jesus, you’ve never been apart from God for so much as a single moment. 

God’s understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5). He knows everything, including your feelings and needs. You may not understand what’s going on in your life, but the Lord knows and will give the strength and guidance you need. 

The Lord never changes (Malachi 3:6). Since His character is constant, you can always trust that He will be faithful, gracious, and merciful to you in every situation. 

When we recall the greatness of God and meditate on His attributes, our problems become smaller, the Lord becomes greater, and His comfort surrounds and sustains us.

If So Be

“If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:3)

The phrase “if so be” (Greek ei per) is used four times in the New Testament, each time setting forth a vital spiritual result established on the basis of a vital spiritual premise. The premise in today’s verse is that a new Christian has truly experienced the saving grace of Christ. The result will be these “newborn babes” will truly “desire the sincere milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2). The “word” (Greek logikos) is always both pure and reasonable.

Then, “ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Romans 8:9). When a person truly receives Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells his body, and the result is that he will henceforth live in the guidance of the Spirit instead of the flesh.

But this life in the Spirit will necessarily entail suffering for the sake of Christ, and this is the premise that assures our future inheritance and glorification. The indwelling Spirit bears witness that we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

Finally, our future resurrection is assured by the certainty of the bodily resurrection of Christ. “We have testified of God,” Paul says, “that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not” (1 Corinthians 15:15). Christ’s resurrection is proved as well as any historical fact has ever been proved, so the dead surely rise also.

These “if so be’s” of Scripture, although seemingly expressed in the form of conditions, actually speak great assurances. The true Christian life is one of thirst for the logical words of God, guidance by the indwelling Spirit of God, certainty of future resurrection, and anticipation of a glorious inheritance in Christ. HMM

A New Race

Matthew 8:23-27

THREE times the phrase “What manner of…?” is used in the New Testament, with meanings very precious to us. In Matthew 8:23-27 our Lord, asleep in a boat and awakened by His disciples when a storm arose, rebuked the waves and then His disciples for their lack of faith. They marveled, saying, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”

Indeed, a new kind of man came to earth in Jesus Christ! None other has ever lived and spoken and died and risen like Him. A new race began with Jesus Christ. He was Son of Man and Son of God, the Word made flesh, Emmanuel. The old race was a failure, and so God chose Israel as the channel for a new Adam. The first Adam was innocent; the new Adam was perfect, sinless. The world has marveled through the ages concerning Christ, “What manner of man is this?” But the world has not seen that He is the Adam of a new race—not merely a teacher, a prophet, but a new man, a God-man. In this light, it is no wonder that He was virgin-born. How could it have been otherwise? The very facts demand it!

But had Christ stood alone, and had there been no way that we could enter into this truth, it would not help us at all to contemplate Him. So the word goes on to say: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). Thank God, I may be a member of this new race! That is the meaning of the new birth. Christ is not an isolated phenomenon in the course of history. He was the “firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). I may be a brother with Him in the new race, born from above through faith in Him. I cannot take out naturalization papers and get into it. Nicodemus was a religious man, but even he must be born again. The reason why we have so much trouble with some church members is because they never have become members of God’s family. They still belong to their father the devil, and the desires of their father they will do, so they are a problem when they get into a church. You can know what to do with your own family members, but when a neighbor’s boy or girl comes over you may find yourself at a loss regarding him or her.

When I trust Christ as Savior I enter a new race with God my Father and Jesus my elder brother, and I am saved that I might be conformed to the image of God’s Son. So it is logical to consider another occurrence of the phrase with which we started: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” (2 Pet. 3:11). That reminds us of the last part of 1 John 3:1: “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” Does the world know you? Too many professing Christians are better known to the world than to the church. Arguing about gambling, dancing, etc., often proceeds on a mistaken basis. There is just one thing that forever settles such things: they simply don’t belong to the family of God. Born-again Christians do not practice sin because “His seed remaineth” in us, and we cannot sin because we are born of God (1 John 3:9). I believe in this kind of family pride!

But the reason here given is that we are in the last days and should behave accordingly. We do not belong to the world. May we live in keeping with our new family name!

“I give unto my sheep eternal life.”

Genesis 7

Genesis 7:1

When the Lord said, “Come,” it was a gracious intimation that he was already in the ark, and meant to be there with his servant. It is also a type of the gospel invitation, “the Spirit and the bride say, Come.”

Genesis 7:3

In Christ, the ark of our salvation, the unclean shall be sheltered as well as the clean. Noah was to bring them in, and such is the privilege of every believer; he is to labour for the saving of the souls of others.

Genesis 7:11-14

It was wonderful that all these creatures should willingly enter the ark; and it is even more wonderful that sinners of all kinds should be led by sovereign grace to find refuge in. the Lord Jesus. They must come when grace calls.

Genesis 7:16

What a blessed thing for Noah. Those whom God brings into Christ, he takes care to shut in, so that they shall go no more out. God did not shut Adam in Paradise, and so he threw himself out; and we should every one of us get out of Christ, if the Lord had not in mercy closed the door.

Genesis 7:20

It was then too late to look to the ark. Dear friends, may we never put off faith in Jesus until it is too late. It will be an awful thing to find ourselves lost in a flood of wrath, with no eye to pity and no arm to save. Yet so it must be if we neglect the great salvation.

Genesis 7:23

As there was no safety out of the ark, so is there no salvation out of Christ. The Lord grant that every member of this family may flee to Jesus at once, and be saved by faith in him.

Come to the ark, come to the ark,

To Jesus come away:

The floods of wrath are bursting forth,

O haste to Christ, to-day.

Come to the ark, all, all that weep

Beneath the sense of sin:

Without, deep calleth unto deep;

But all is peace within.

Come to the ark, ere yet the flood

Your lingering steps oppose;

Come, for the door which open stood

Is now about to close.

Learn to Love God for Himself Alone

We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

The phrase, “the love of God,” when used by Christians almost always refers to God’s love for us. We must remember that it can also mean our love for God!

The first and great commandment is that we should love God with all the power of our total personality. Though all love originates in God and is for that reason God’s own love, yet we are permitted to catch and reflect back that love in such manner that it becomes our love indeed!

The Christian’s love for God has by some religious thinkers been divided into two kinds, the love of gratitude and the love of excellence. But we must carry our love to God further than love of gratitude and love of excellence.

There is a place in the religious experience where we love God for Himself alone, with never a thought of His benefits. There is, in the higher type of love, a supra-rational element that cannot and does not attempt to give reasons for its existence—it only whispers, “I love!”

In the perfection of love, the heart does not reason from admiration to affection, but quickly rises to the height of blind adoration where reason is suspended and the heart worships in unreasoning blessedness. It can only exclaim, “Holy, holy, holy,” while scarcely knowing what it means.

If this should all seem too mystical, too unreal, we offer no proof. But some will read and recognize the description of the sunlit peaks where they have been for at least brief periods and to which they long often to return. And such will need no proof!