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February 4, 2013

We want to continue our study in the cost of discipleship and revival.


Ephesians 2:10 states, For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. When we become new creations in Christ Jesus, this text teaches that part of God’s new creative work within us produces service. We do not work to become Christians, but work because Christ within is working through the life of the one He indwells. I am afraid that many lackadaisical, lazy professors of religion have nothing. The evidence of salvation is sadly invisible. What about it? Does God expect anything from overloaded (physically), undernourished (spiritually) twentieth century believers?


The truths I am about to present will not please lazy Christians who, like wheelbarrows, need to be pushed. Neither will these arrows of God’s Word be as pleasing platitudes to modern saints who run their lives like present-day cafeterias-self-service only. Nevertheless, all need to hear from God. All of us need a spiritual bath occasionally, so let’s proceed to use the Word and get washed (see Ephesians 5:26).


In chapter one we considered in a broad way, or telescopically, the price Christ paid. Now let’s look at it microscopically, or minutely. Then let’s follow Christ.


Christ Was Slandered


First; Jesus paid the price of malicious slander. The Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils (Matthew 9:34).


Again, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils (Matthew 12:24).


He hath an unclean spirit (Mark 3:30).


Some say, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people (John 7:12).


The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil (John 7:20).


Imagine the audacity of the people as they hurled these vicious accusations at Christ:


The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true (John 8:13). Here they call the Saviour a bold-faced liar. It gets worse in John 8:41 where they say We be not born of fornication. [We are not a dirty, illegitimate child like you].


Still again, Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil (John 8:48). This was a racial slur because Samaritans were hated.


In John 10:20 they say, He hath a devil, and is mad. [He is demented and foams like a mad dog.]


I have but taken a few of the slanderous pronouncements made concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. The people said that Jesus had a devil, and an unclean spirit; that He was a deceiver, a liar; that He was an illegitimate child, a mad dog. About whom were they speaking? God in the flesh!


Will those who truly follow in His steps receive the same kind of treatment? You had better believe it! In fact, I have never felt better about some of the mail I receive. Praise God, I am on Christ’s side, and this is the way it should be.


Listen to the Saviour in John 15:18, 19, If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.


This same teaching is presented by our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. [Then what-quit? NO!] Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven (Matthew 5:10-12).


Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:10, We are fools for Christ’s sake. Verse 13: We are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. Let’s study the word “offscouring” for a moment.


When dishes are washed, the pots have “goop” on the bottom. One then takes a scouring pad and scrapes the “crud” free. The released “goop” is the offscouring. Ugh! Well, dear refined, highly polished Christian, this is the term the Holy Spirit uses to picture the Christian who is taking his stand for Christ in this wicked world. He is the “offscouring,” the “goop,” and “crud” off the bottom of the pan in the world’s eyes. Has this been true in your life? Why not? God wrote this verse and said it would be so if you lived the life. Forget about your image. Let go, and let God have His wonderful way in your life.


First Peter 2:12 says, They [will] speak against you.


First Peter 3:14: If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake happy are ye. Why? Because of the reward in the future.


Again, 1 Peter 4:14 declares, If ye be reproached [maligned and slandered] for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.


Now I want to show you the prime reason the average Christian is never slandered and hated. First, his testimony is nil or watered down. Jesus said in John 7:7, The world… me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Those who run around talking love, love, and more love usually are loved. But when one mentions sin, as Jesus did, and rebukes the iniquitous abominations of the hour, he becomes hated.


The Bible also teaches that godliness produces resentment among the unholy. Second Timothy 3:12: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. This is why Cain slew Abel, his brother (see 1 John 3:12). This is why carnal Christians criticize spiritual men of God who preach holy living and keep the standards high.


You folks who look like the world, dress like the world, act like the world, talk like the world, run with the world, and live for the world will never be persecuted. You are living where they are. But it is wrong, and you will be the loser.


Romans 12:2 says, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed In simple English, don’t be fashioned like the world, but “about face.” You women who wear tight blouses and sweaters to attract men will never be persecuted. Your little short skirts will bring the favor of the ungodly rather than mockery. You men with smutty mouths won’t be considered religious fanatics. The world will love you; you sound like them. But, be not conformed to this world.


Christ Suffered


Second, Christ paid the price of suffering. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps (1 Peter 2:21).


First Peter 3:18 states, For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust.


Hebrews 12:2: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross. Were you under the impression that Calvary was an easy ordeal? It was not! He endured-endured the cross.


In this day of easy-believism, are we to suffer as Christians? Are we to pay the price in winning lost souls to Jesus? Let’s see.


Philippians 1:29: For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. It is not enough just to believe. One becomes a Christian by believing, but discipleship produces suffering. Believing gets one into heaven, but discipleship presents one with heaven’s best crowns to place at the feet of Jesus.


Yes, He suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps (see 1 Peter 2:21). His suffering was for sinners. Our suffering should be for the same reason. Think of this statement in the light of the millions of Christians who have never won a soul to Christ. Think of the shame that awaits their entrance into heaven (see 1 John 2:28).


Suffering is again discussed in Philippians 3:10: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. All of us want a life filled with blessing, but few want to fellowship in His sufferings. Read again the listing of 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 wherein Paul enumerates his sufferings. Then bow before God and say “God forgive me for my greedy, grasping, selfish attitude. Forgive me for allowing the old nature to have full sway.”


Christian, will you have any scars, like Paul, at the Judgment Seat? Many live luxuriously and complain about the hardship of being a Christian. Let’s accept slander and suffering as the will of God and press on to greater service for the Lord.


Christ Was Slain


Third, Christ was slain. He gave His life for a sinful world. God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).


Jack, will you go so far as to state that a Christian should be willing to follow Christ, even to death, in winning souls? I suggest it because Jesus taught this truth. He said in Luke 9:23, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. We must go back to the first century to understand the implications within this statement. The cross was the means of capital punishment in Christ’s day. It was an instrument of death. A convicted criminal had to drag his own cross to the place of his execution. When one passed by pulling or dragging a cross, it meant that he was going to be crucified, yea killed.


Jesus said that one should be willing to die daily, or bear the cross 24 hours per day in order to follow Him. I believe this same lesson is pictured in Revelation 2:10: Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. There is more in this verse than the thought of faithfulness to Christ as long as one has life. The context indicates that a horrendous time of persecution was to come. Some would be hanged; others murdered in tortuous ways for the name of Christ. When it came, faithfulness unto death was the means of earning the crown of life for the martyr. This happened in past history, and may soon be the experience of God’s people in America. Christians in Russia, China, and other parts of the world have already suffered greatly. Were you next, would you have the spiritual stamina to stand for Christ? Even unto death?


Adoniram Judson went to India as a missionary. He was soon imprisoned because of his love for Christ and the souls of men. They bound him in a stench-filled dungeon. There he was alone with his God for months. Many were the hours of torture he experienced. Anne, his sweet wife, would often look into the place of his interment and with tears flowing down her cheeks cry out, “Hang on, sweetheart. I know it is difficult to bear, but God will give us the victory.” Time passed, and the visits from Anne ceased. How Judson wondered as to the welfare of his family.


After a few years, he was released. He immediately went to the area where he and Anne had lived. As he arrived at the location, he saw a grimy, dirt-covered tot playing outside a tent. He did not realize it was his own little girl. He rushed into the tent and saw a bald woman lying on a bed. She was dying. Malnutrition had taken her hair and health. As he stood over the form of the one he had loved so dearly, his tears fell on her face. This revived his darling and she opened her eyes. She took his hand and said, ‘Adoniram, be true to the Lord. Hang on, sweetheart. When I am gone, don’t quit. Be faithful. Pay the price.”


Today there are thousands of Christians and hundreds of gospel-preaching churches in India because the Judsons took up the cross daily and followed Jesus. What will you do with your life, Christian? Give it to the Lord now in prayer.



FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE

The Look


What a dramatic experience it must be for an infant to be born into this world! Leaving the security and warm comfort of its sanctuary just below its mother’s heart, the child is thrust suddenly into the noisy activity and bright lights of a completely different existence…in a whole new world.


How comforting and reassuring it must be for that tiny new being to look up into the face of its mother and gaze into the kindest, most loving eyes it has ever seen. There is grateful acceptance and a joyful welcome in that face, and that first look of love, I believe, is so important that it helps shape the entire life of that youngster. That look should-and usually does-carry special, deep meaning right on through all the child’s years on planet earth.


Sadly, for many children who enter the world these days, that look isn’t there. They never look up and see a gentle expression that says, “I’m glad you’re here.” Such deprivation, it seems to me, must have a negative impact on their early sense of security and well being, and may even affect their ability to relate to others in the critical growing-up years.


I got “the look”


I’m so grateful that I did read that overwhelming welcome in the eyes of my mother and father. As early as I can remember, that look of pride, joy, and approval greeted me every time I looked up at them. And I learned to check for “the look” as a reference point to help me along as I explored the world and ventured out to find my place in it.


When I was trying something new, or attempting to do something on my own, I could read in mother’s eyes-“Yes, go ahead,” or maybe, “Hey, you’d better be careful and hold back just a little bit.” My father was also a great source of guidance and encouragement just through “the look.” My parents never really had to say very much for me to understand where I was headed. I could always read their expressions…especially their eyes.


When I was a child, “the look” helped give me the courage to do my best in performing. I started singing in public when I was just five years old, and there were about 1,500 people in the church we attended. But if I felt a bit apprehensive while standing up before the crowd, all I had to do was look down at my mother. Her eyes would tell me, “You can do this…I’m so proud of you!”


At the end of a musical solo, Mom’s eyes might convey to me, Oh, honey, that’s the best you’ve ever done!


Of course, if I looked at my father, I would always see tears rolling out of his eyes. His eyes were always dripping with love, approval, and caring that said to me, “I can’t even begin to express how I feel, Rexella-I have to do it this way!”


Learning from “the look”


In high school, I was also very active in drama as well as music, and in my academic studies. The experience of introducing my songs before an audience gave me the confidence to try acting in plays. I found that I enjoyed learning to communicate from a different perspective.


But whether a solo performance, a choral concert, or a dramatic production, the first people I looked to after my performance were my parents. I could always determine if I had done a good job or not by “the look” I read in their eyes. Their expression would tell me, “Oh my, we certainly approve.” Or if I hadn’t done as well, I would read that in their expression. Of course, the tears rolled down my dad’s face at school, too-he could never control his emotions when it came to his daughter doing something.


This approval/caution feedback extended on into my adult life. I learned to recognize “the look” on other people’s faces and to be sensitive to their needs and feelings. After I was married and Jack and I were traveling the nation in evangelistic crusades, I found that I could stand before an audience and read body language and facial expressions like a book. In their eyes I saw the true identification of their hearts, and it revealed so much.


There might be thousands of people in an auditorium or stadium, but I could sense the people who needed to be there-those who needed the Lord. There was tremendous communication between them and me just through “the look.” When I stood up to sing, I could tell if they were truly receiving the message of my song or if they were just enjoying-or enduring-the performance.


I especially enjoyed interacting with the children. Youngsters are so openly honest and direct that it is usually easy to tell what they are thinking and how they feel. In more recent years, when we had an open house at our ministry headquarters and invited friends to come, the children would always attract my attention. I felt so free to get down and look into their faces to search out what they wanted to express. Often it was a look that said, “Thank you, Rexella, for having us today. I love being here!”


Communicating through “the look”


Before Jack and I went on television and our demanding production schedule kept us closer to home, I often traveled across the country to various ladies conferences. From the time I was twenty years old until a few years ago, I would speak before women’s groups as often as two or three times a month. So many times the Lord helped me to sense people’s needs, and the Holy Spirit directed my words because of “the look” that communicated so eloquently. Sometimes I’d even change what I had prepared to say and go a different direction. Maybe some little comment I didn’t realize was significant would seem to strike a nerve and reveal a special need. “The look” would instantly say, “Oh, yes! Help me, tell me, teach me!”


I’ll never forget the time in a crusade service when a lady came forward during an invitation-she was one of the pastor’s wives. I was immediately drawn to her because I could read the great need in her soul. Just one glance into her eyes told me the whole story, “Oh, Rexella, I’m not sure that I really know the Lord. I’m just not sure!”


I took her hand and said, “Honey, don’t rely on the past-let’s be sure right now.” I knew I needed to lead her to Christ, and she was so ready. So we prayed the sinner’s prayer together until the light of heaven broke through all her doubt and confusion.


I got a letter from this lady not long ago-she’s now going across Texas sharing her story about how she opened her heart to the Lord during our crusade.


Even more awesome than the marvelous communication between people that is transmitted through “the look” is knowing that the eyes of the Lord have followed you and me from the moment we were born. He knows everything about us, and has seen everything we’ve ever done.


In the Old Testament, God says, For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hidden from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes (Jeremiah 16:17). And He goes on-Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? (Jeremiah 23:24).


The New Testament also testifies that neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him (Hebrews 4:13).


Pondering the wonder of Jesus


While I’m almost overcome by the idea that the Creator of the universe notices me, looks at me, and keeps track of my deeds, I literally tremble to think that He is aware of every failure, and careless act of my entire life. How could we stand before a righteous God if it were not for the amazing love of Jesus who loved us and gave himself as a sacrifice to redeem us from the penalty of our sins?


Such love is too great for me to comprehend! I can only ponder the wonder of Jesus whose shed blood has blotted out the record of all my sins-the things God has seen in my life of which He did not approve. God saw it all. He kept track of it. The penalty for my sin was a debt I owed that I could not pay. But Jesus paid it all. Everything bad that God saw in my life is gone-never to be remembered again! When I look into His face, there is no accusation of my guilt. His look is only total love and acceptance.


Talk about amazing grace! Why did my Lord love me so? How could He look at me with such compassion and forgiveness?


Do you remember the dramatic story of how Peter stood outside the high priest’s house where Jesus was being accused? Three times he denied that he was one of the Lord’s disciples, or that he even knew Him. About that time a rooster crowed, and the door of the house opened and they led Jesus out.


What’s in a look?


The gospel account says, And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly (Luke 22:61, 62).


Notice that Jesus didn’t say a word to Peter-He just looked at him. But oh, how much Peter must have seen in that look!


Another gospel story tells how the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who was accused of adultery and asked if she should be stoned as the Mosaic Law prescribed. Jesus waited a bit, then looked at them and said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone” (see John 8:7).


One by one the members of that self-righteous mob slunk away until no one was left except Jesus and the woman. “Where are your accusers?” He asked her, “Who condemns you?”


“No one,” she replied.


And Jesus, looking at her with great kindness and divine love, said, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more!”


Oh, the wonder of His love that takes away every mistake – every sin and gives us a perfect heart! How marvelous to claim the precious promise found in 2 Chronicles 16:9-For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.


Do you realize what this means? Our Lord’s eyes always see us and what we do for Him. He has seen my every performance, every word I’ve spoken on the crusade platform or before the television cameras, every article I’ve ever written. He’s seen everything that you have done in your whole life to serve and honor Him. When we run the race, He keeps track of the course and is aware of the obstacles. He gives us power to endure and supplies us with everything we need to finish the course!


Running for the reward


At the end of the race, when we stand before the Lord, rewards will be given out for our efforts in running the course. We will be rewarded-not just for what we did, but also for the motive behind our performance. Did we do it just for attention, to say, “Look at me!” If so, our efforts were to no avail. But if we did it for souls, for the Kingdom of God, we will receive an eternal reward that we can lay at the feet of our Lord.


And I can’t help but believe that even before the awards are given out, all we will have to do is to look up into the face of Jesus and “the look” will indicate our standing! We won’t have to wait to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” to know. Oh, we will hear those words if we deserve it, but just seeing the look on His face will tell it all!


The Olympics is always a great event with the attention of the world focused on the competitors who come from all over the world. They compete for a temporal reward-man’s recognition and the gold, silver, and bronze medals of achievement. The grandstands are full of cheering throngs of fans, and the Olympic judges are watching-never closing their eyes. They watch, judge, and reward every performance.


The Olympian competitors always appreciate and acknowledge the spectators in the grandstands, but when they finish their competition, they do not watch the fans. Their eyes are fixed upon the judges, watching to see if they can read their look to learn if they will be presented the prize!


The book of Hebrews says that we are in a very similar situation-that the great heroes of faith and all our loved ones and friends who have gone on to heaven before us are looking down and cheering us on. I believe that my mom and dad are in that crowd of heavenly witnesses. And as I run past, I’d love to see that look of approval from them again. But while I am aware of their encouraging presence, I want to finish my race with my eyes on Jesus!


Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1,2).


Let us seek for the approval of our Lord today and “His look” of approval tomorrow.



CHANGED LIVES-one at a time

Dear Jack “The Hammer” Van Impe,


I would like to take a moment to thank you, and your beautiful wife for all the hard work you do for us, teaching the Word. Your seemingly computer like brain is indeed a gift from our great Father. You amaze me every week with your knowledge of our Lords plan and backing it up with real world headlines. I was in the Army for 13 years and was in Iraq and Bosnia for two of those years and I’ve seen Sharia law up close and personal and Sir, it is the religion of Satan himself. I was wounded by one of Allahs martyrs when he drove his black Mercedes into my Hummvee and blew himself up. These so called Christians in this wonderful country don’t realize the extent of our enemies resolve.


Thank you for, as always, “Hammering” our enemies with the truth and light of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you, you wonderful teachers of his Word. Thank you for your time,


Todd and Annette W.

 


Dear Mr. Jack and Rexella


I love everything about your newsletter and your great dedication to our Lord and savior. There is no way for me to tell you both how you have inspired my life by your love for God. Thank you for all you to do to tell people of this cruel evil world that God is real and will return one day! I love you both and know one day we can be in heaven together to reign with our precious savior. God bless you both


Sincerely,

Sandra B.



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