VIDEO Spring Forward: Be an Ambassador

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20

Ambassadors must leave the comfort zone of their own nations to settle for a while in a country not their own. To spring forward to renewed usefulness, we need to leave the comfort of complacency and represent Christ to a world that’s foreign to Him.

Thom Rainer recalls his high school coach, Joe Hendrickson: “To the best of my recollection,” Thom writes, “he called me into his small office one day after practice. I had no idea what he wanted. I feared I had messed up a play. But Coach Joe didn’t want to talk football; he wanted to talk about Jesus. I’m sure there was a bit of small talk, but I don’t remember that part. I just remember that he clearly presented the gospel…. Later that night, I repented of my sins and by faith accepted what God had done for me through Jesus Christ.”[1]

You can share Christ too—with the authority of an ambassador.

Let’s try not to complicate evangelism. At its core, it’s very simple. Evangelism is sharing the Good News about Jesus Christ.
Thom Rainer

[1] Thom Rainer, Sharing the Gospel with Ease (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Publishing, 2022), 4.

The Ambassadors’ Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

Weeding Out Sins

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins. 1 John 1:9

When I noticed a sprig budding next to the garden hose by our porch, I ignored the seemingly harmless eyesore. How could a little weed possibly hurt our lawn? But as the weeks passed, that nuisance grew to be the size of a small bush and began taking over our yard. Its stray stalks arched over a portion of our walkway and sprouted up in other areas. Admitting its destructive existence, I asked my husband to help me dig out the wild weeds by the roots and then protect our yard with weed killer.

When we ignore or deny its presence, sin can invade our lives like unwanted overgrowth and darken our personal space. Our sinless God has no darkness in Him . . . at all. As His children, we’re equipped and charged to face sins head-on so we can “walk in the light, as he is in the light” (1 John 1:7). Through confession and repentance, we experience forgiveness and freedom from sin (vv. 8–10) because we have a great advocate—Jesus (2:1). He willingly paid the ultimate price for our sins—His lifeblood—and “not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (v. 2).

When our sin is brought to our attention by God, we can choose denial, avoidance, or deflection of responsibility. But when we confess and repent, He weeds out sins that harm our relationships with Him and others.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How does knowing your sins are offenses against God change your view about repentance? What sins have taken root and need to be weeded out of your life?

Loving Father, please uproot the sins from my life so I can grow closer to You and others.

A Commitment to Obey

It’s easy to rationalize making choices to please ourselves or others, but the wise choice is always God’s will. Daniel 6:5-28

We’ll all encounter times when what’s being asked of us conflicts with what God says. Perhaps the boss tells us to act dishonestly, or a friend pressures us to join her in sinful behavior. Maybe a family member urges us to lie on his behalf. Saying no could bring loss, rejection, or even the end of a relationship. On the other hand, going along with the request would break God’s commands and compromise our Christian witness.

Daniel found himself in such a predicament when officials set a trap for him—an edict prohibiting worship “to any god or human being” other than King Darius (Dan. 6:7). Daniel courageously “went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem” and prayed visibly to God, as was his habit (v. 10). For his infraction, Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den. The next morning, Darius was relieved that Daniel had been protected, and he decreed that all his subjects “must fear and reverence” the God of the Jews (v. 26).

Our responsibility is to trust and obey the Lord. Consider these biblical examples: Daniel’s faithfulness resulted in royal favor and honor to God (v. 26); Jesus’ obedience led to the cross and glorification; and Paul’s trust in Christ resulted in hardship along with fruitful service. When we obey, the consequences may vary, but two things are always the same: Obedience glorifies and pleases our Father. 

Behold the Lamb

“And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36)

As he spoke to two of his followers, John the Baptist was, in effect, telling them that they should henceforth leave him to follow Jesus. “And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus” (John 1:37). On the previous day, when John had first seen Jesus coming, he had said, apparently to all his disciples, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

This is the first use of the word “lamb” in the New Testament, and it is significant that it refers here to the Lord Jesus as the one great sacrifice for our sins. He is called “the Lamb” 30 more times in the New Testament, the final time no longer viewing Him on the altar but on His eternal throne (Revelation 22:3). Yet, even on His throne as our King, He is still the Lamb, and we can never forget that He once died for us that we might live with Him.

Long before this, Isaac once asked his father, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God will provide himself a lamb” (Genesis 22:7-8). God did just that 2,000 years later, when Christ, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8), “came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Then when God was ready to set His people free in ancient Egypt, He told them to place the shed blood of a spotless lamb on the doorpost of each home and said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13). In fulfillment of all these ancient sacrifices and types, the once-for-all Lamb of God came, and “Christ our passover is sacrificed [even] for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Now, like John’s disciples, it surely compels us, in the very depths of our souls, to “behold the Lamb of God” and follow Him. HMM

The Healing

Luke 13:10-17

ONE of those colorful pictures from our Lord’s ministry that carries many human-interest elements is found in Luke 13:10-17. The Lord was teaching on the Sabbath in one of the synagogues. The day of worship found Him at the house of the Lord. He was not one of those whose manner is to forsake the assembling of themselves together with other believers on a pretext of “worshiping in the great outdoors.”

He found in His audience a woman afflicted with a spirit of infirmity, bent over for 18 years. I am struck with the phrase “spirit of infirmity.” Our Lord went on to say later that it was Satan who had crippled her. There are thousands today shackled with a spirit of infirmity, bound by Satan. Some are not really sick, organically, but bound in mind by fears and obscure mental conditions. They think they are sick, and they need the liberating touch of the Lord.

Jesus healed this woman, and immediately she was made straight and glorified God. It must have been an exciting time. The man who finds himself released from a spirit of infirmity has a right to praise God; and though he may be a disturbing nuisance to the dignified, God is pleased with the praise of His creatures.

It seems almost incredible that anyone should have complained at such an occurrence, but the ruler of the synagogue was angry because Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath. Imagine a soul so warped that it can overlook the loosing of a body bound 18 years and see only the breaking of a custom. But these are still among us. If a revival should break out in the average church today and the “hallelujahs” of souls set free resounded through the house of God, the Pharisees would still object and be more concerned about the infraction of a custom than the freeing of a soul.

Our Lord answered this man by calling him a hypocrite and citing that the Law allowed the loosing of an ox or ass on the Sabbath to lead it to water. Surely then this poor woman could be loosed from her infirmity on the Sabbath day. Jesus looked over everything else to see human need. He was interested in helping souls, not in observing customs. The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath—and He used the less to serve the greater.

The adversaries were ashamed, we read, and all the people rejoiced. There has never been a great spiritual movement that did not stir up the opposition of the rulers of the synagogue. The great reformers and preachers of the past had to contend with the contemporary preachers of their day, the established customs of their times. Finney was reviled because of his new measures. Wesley and Whitefield met the scorn of established religion. Spurgeon was ridiculed as a wild sensationalist. But the common people have heard them gladly and have rejoiced at the power of God shown through them. Anyone who would walk in the steps of the Lord and give himself to loosening the spirit of infirmity in men and women must expect to displease the rulers of the synagogue, but he will find the poor and weak and despised praising God for him!

“The Lord will destroy the house of the proud.”

Psalm 105:24-38

As our endeavour is to gather up the substance of the Scriptures during the reading of one year, we are unable to pause over each of the ten great plagues. We ought, each one of us, to read them for our own instruction. We have them for our family reading summed up in

Psalm 105:24

The Lord is just as able to increase his church at this time, and he will do so in answer to prayer.

Psalm 105:25

Persecution generally attends the prosperity of the church. Where God blesses, Satan is sure to stir up all his wrath to vex the church.

Psalm 105:26

When evil days come, the Lord has deliverers provided, who shall appear at the exact moment when they are most required. Let us pray the Lord to raise up eminent ministers and evangelists at this time, for they are greatly needed.

Psalm 105:28

This unusual darkness filled all hearts with horror, and the Egyptians were so cowed that they yielded for the time, but were hardened again when the plague was over.

Psalm 105:29-30

Fish died, but frogs lived. God can with one hand kill our comforts, and with the other multiply our miseries. This time Pharaoh himself had to endure personal annoyance, for frogs swarmed upon the royal bed.

Psalm 105:31

Here filthiness and venom were united; these little tormentors made the Egyptians feel the power of the great God. Often little plagues are the worst of plagues. From this visitation Pharaoh’s bodyguards could not defend his royal person. Such enemies laughed at sword and spear.

Psalm 105:32

It is a judgment indeed when the fountains of blessing become the channels of wrath, and the very rain is fire. Let the enemies of God beware.

Psalm 105:33

God’s blows are heavy, and they leave no place unbruised. Egypt must miss its wine and its pleasant fruits if it will not obey the Lord.

Psalm 105:34-35

Locusts literally eat up every green thing, and there is no preserving anything from them. God has many ways of punishing men. In this case we wonder at the hardness of heart of those who stood out against such humbling judgments. He who can with a word bring up countless hosts of devourers is not a God to be trifled with.

Psalm 105:36

This was the last and heaviest blow, and the proud king and nation staggered under it. When one arrow does not suffice, the Lord has others in his quiver, and one way or another he will hit the mark.

Psalm 105:37

What a miracle that after all their toil and bondage they should all be in health. They were all called to go upon a long journey, and therefore the Lord prepared them for it.

Psalm 105:38

Thus can providence so work that the stoutest opponents shall only be too glad to yield.

Let us beware of provoking this terrible God. Let us by faith enlist him upon our side: then we shall have no ground for fear, for all the creatures he has made will be our friends. Fire and water, locusts and flies, darkness and death, were all the allies of Israel. He who is at peace with God has the whole creation enlisted upon his side.

Thus shall the nations be destroy’d

That dare insult the saints;

God hath an arm t’avenge their wrongs,

An ear for their complaints.

Thine honours, O victorious king;

Thine own right hand shall raise,

While we thine awful vengeance sing,

And our Deliverer praise.

A Bible Fact: A Regenerated Man Knows God

Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Acts 27:25

The Bible assumes as a self-evident fact that men can know God with at least the same degree of immediacy as they know any other person or thing that comes within the field of their experience.

The same terms are used to express the knowledge of God as are used to express knowledge of physical things:

“O TASTE and see that the Lord is good.”

“All thy garments SMELL of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia.”

“My sheep HEAR my voice.”

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall SEE God.”

These are but four of countless such passages from the Word of God. And more important than any proof text is the fact that the whole import of the Scripture is toward this belief.

We apprehend the physical world by exercising the faculties given us for the purpose, and we possess spiritual faculties by means of which we can know God and the spiritual world if we will obey the Spirit’s urge and begin to use them.

That a saving work must first be done in the heart is taken for granted here. The spiritual faculties of the unregenerate man lie asleep in his nature; they may be quickened to active life again by the operation of the Holy Spirit in regeneration!