January 28, 2013
Beginning this week we want to do a four-week study on the cost of discipleship and revival.
There Is a Price to Pay
Salvation does not cost any person anything, because salvation is freely bestowed upon those who believe. Don’t let anyone rob you of this blessed truth. Ephesians 2:8, 9 states, For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Romans 6:23 says, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our Saviour shed His precious blood upon the cross over 2,000 years ago to redeem sinners. To be saved, one must receive this precious gift, the Lord Jesus Christ, for the remission of sin. When the transaction occurs God immediately gives eternal life to the receiver of His gift.
Friend, it is free. Because of it one can exuberantly say with Paul, Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).
The Price Paid by Christ
A. His home
God’s gift cost the Saviour everything. This included the relinquishing of His heavenly home for a period of 33 years. Philippians 2:5-8 beautifully pictures the sacrifice: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Yes, He loved you and left the beauty of the “Holy City” to die an agonizing death upon Calvary. He said, I came down from heaven (John 6:38). Again, I am the living bread which came down from heaven (John 6:51). He loved you and gave himself for you (see Galatians 2:20).
B. His reputation
God’s gift also cost the Lord Jesus Christ His reputation. Philippians 2:7: [He] made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. His enemies tried to drag His holy name into the depths of degradation. Listen to them: He casteth out devils through the prince of devils (Matthew 9:34). He hath an unclean spirit (Mark 3:30). He hath a devil and is mad (John 10:20). “He is an illegitimate child.” They said even that? Absolutely. His sermon so convicted the sinners of His day that they, in retaliation, shouted, We be not born of fornication (John 8:41). Christ bore all of this abusive language because of His great love for the lost including you.
C. His happiness
God’s gift also cost Christ great sorrow. He could say in Matthew 26:28, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. He beheld the city, and wept over it (Luke 19:41). Again in Luke 22:44: And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Medical men state that blood is held in one’s body by capillaries. When they burst, blood seeps through the skin. Jesus prayed so agonizingly over the souls of men that His capillaries shattered, His blood seeped through His skin, and beads of blood and water ran from His brow to the ground. Oh, how Jesus loved the lost.
Hebrews 12:2 looks ahead to the joy anticipated because of the sorrow endured: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him [seeing the redeemed in His presence] endured the cross.
D. His life
God’s gift also cost Christ His life. Psalm 22 prophetically depicts the event. Listen to the Saviour as He hangs, fastened by spikes, to the cross: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? Verse 6: But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. Verses 13-16: They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. Do you hear the agonizing groans of the Lord as he pays the price of salvation for you?
Isaiah, the prophet, also portrays the ignominious scene in chapter 53:1-5: Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Paul says, Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). John adds, He loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Revelation).
Multitudes more of the “saved by grace without cost” crowd never win lost souls to Christ. Million slip into hell forever and forever and forever while believers fill their daily schedules with temporal earthly pursuits. They fail to witness because their exalted image could become tarnished by the taunts of those Christ-haters who belittle them. They might be called fanatics, fools, idiots, imbeciles, or Jesus freaks. Are we better than Christ who was called demented and mad in John 10:20? Are we better than Paul who said in 1 Corinthians 4:10, We are fools for Christ? God forgive us for not paying the cost of discipleship.
Let’s investigate the price some of God’s people paid as they followed Jesus.
Stephen, the first deacon, paid all he had by giving his life. In Acts 7:51 we find him preaching a strong, bombastic message naming sin. This kind of preaching is never popular. And [they] ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him (Acts 7:57,58).
The New Testament writers, with the exception of John, laid down their lives for the Saviour. Matthew died from the wounds of a halberd. Mark was dragged through the streets by a team of wild horses until death ensued. Luke was hanged. John was thrown into boiling oil. Though he lived, he was disfigured for life. Peter and Jude were crucified, and James was smashed to death by a club. Paul, last but not least, suffered more than the others combined.
He could say in 1 Corinthians 4:10-13, We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted [beaten], and have no certain dwelling place; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the off- of all things unto this day. In 1 Corinthians 15:31, he says, I die daily.
In 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 he continues, We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed: Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.
Again, 2 Corinthians 11:23-28: In labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, and fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
Think of it. Five times they scourged Paul with the forerunner of the Roman cat-o-nine-tails. Three times they used clubs on his body and once they crushed his head with rocks. Thinking he was dead, they discarded his body at the garbage dump of Lystra (see Acts 14:19).
Salvation is free, but it is not cheap. Discipleship that brings crowns and rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ is costly. Those who do not sacrifice here will have nothing in that day. They shall stand in Christ’s presence ashamed (see 1 John 2:28). They shall suffer loss of all rewards (see 1 Corinthians 3:15).
One who is a disciple, a follower of Christ throughout this earthly, pilgrimage, has no regrets as eternity approaches. Listen to Paul again in 2 Timothy 4:6-8. He is about to have his life ended by decapitation beheading. His head will soon roll from his body as the sword severs it. Is he remorseful, regretful, and sorry? Would he like to relive life without all of the sorrow experienced as Christ’s follower? You be the judge. He says, For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course. I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. There are no regrets-he is going home to be with Jesus forever.
Christian, get a copy of Fox’s Book of Martyrs. It will revolutionize your life as you see the price Christians have paid throughout history. They were grateful for free salvation and gave their all out of gratitude. Let me share two illustrations from this volume:
In the year 258 AD, three hundred Christians jumped into fires at Utica rather than renounce the Lord Jesus Christ.
In 304 AD, Timothy and Mara heard a knock at the door. A voice said, “Give us your Scripture portions that we may burn them.”
They replied, “Never. We would rather have you burn us.”
They took Timothy, removed his eyes, threw him in front of his wife, and said, “Now let him read his Bible.”
Six weeks later, the agents returned saying, “Will you renounce Jesus today?”
They then took this godly couple, and hanged them in trees in view of their little children. All this because they loved Jesus.
Salvation is free, but it is not cheap. Some of you have been treating it cheaply. Why not dedicate your life anew today. Get rid of habits, coldness, lukewarmness, and the spirit of unconcern that has hindered your growth in the Lord.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Are You in Contact With Your Spirit Guide?
He will guide you into all truth!
We’re hearing so much in this day about the New Age Movement and how we should be in contact with our “other self” through our “spirit guide.” These concepts are being taught in our public schools, even at the lower grade levels. Misguided, deceived individuals are teaching our innocent children about transcendental meditation, yoga, and the spirit world.
Numerous celebrities have publicized their involvement with such fearsome ancient spirit guides as Ramtha, Spectra, and Lazirus, who supposedly possess supernatural knowledge and can assist them in making important decisions and choices.
The truth is that most of the spirits out there are not holy. It is vitally important to recognize this fact. Sadly, too many people do not realize that when they participate in activities like “channeling,” trances, séances, etc., they are opening themselves up to all kinds of demonic spirits. Often, people actually give themselves over to evil spirits, with tragic results.
As Christians, our Spirit Guide lives within us. Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you (1 Corinthians 6:19). Therefore, if our Spirit Guide is within us, we have no need to go outside ourselves for guidance as others suggest. He is all we need.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come (John 16:13).
Imagine, you have access to the greatest Spirit of all — the precious Holy Spirit. You can possess, and be possessed by, the most powerful force in all the universe, the omniscient, omnipresent Spirit of the eternal God. Shirley MacLaine and others talk about their spirit guides being so special because they are ancient. But our Spirit Guide — the Holy Spirit — helped create the world, even man.
Genesis 1:1,2 says, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. So the Holy Spirit was there at the dawn of creation — as a part of the Trinity. He is from the beginning and predates all other spirit guides.
We can have contact with this Holy Spirit and be guided by Him, but first we must possess Him. The only way that can happen is by the illumination of His Word. He must convince us of the truth. John 16:8 says, And when he is come, he will reprove [convince] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. He convinces us that we need Him and guides us to the born-again experience.
Thank God, the Spirit does strive with us and illuminates the truth to us.
Not only does the Spirit convince us of our need of Christ, He also creates intercessory thoughts in us. There are times when we don’t even know what we need — what is good for us. So many times we may not even know how we should pray or what we should ask for. So we have to join our spirit with the Holy Spirit to seek out God’s best plan for our lives. Romans 8:26 says, Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
There are times when we come to God, praying only for what we want — asking for His approval — instead of seeking His will for our lives. I’m convinced that on those occasions when we come to God, asking selfishly, the Holy Spirit is saying, “No, Father, no.” When we do not ask within the will of God, then the Holy Spirit, in His mercy, intercedes for what is best.
As a young bride, I had an experience like this. I wanted a baby so much that I begged God to let me have one. I refused to consider how much a child would have hampered and burdened my calling and ministry, which at that time required me to live “on the road” for months at a time. I avoided thinking about how cruel and unfair my work load and life-style would be to a helpless, wholly-dependent little one.
Even after I knew that motherhood was not God’s will for me, I asked anyway. But the Holy Spirit, in His goodness, interceded for me — for my own good. And now, when I can see things clearly and in perspective, that knowledge brings me great comfort.
There may also be times when we experience a yearning for something that is undefined and inexpressible. It’s a hunger or yearning we simply can’t understand. At times like these, we can join our spirits with the Holy Spirit and let Him create intercessory thoughts within us. Then we can have peace that what is being sought in our behalf is for our good… and will be done. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him (1 John 5:14,15).
Allowing the Holy Spirit to create intercessory thoughts and prayers brings such satisfaction and fulfillment. It goes beyond our understanding or ability to put it into words. It is so beautiful and powerful.
Then, the Holy Spirit comforts us. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you (John 14:18).
I love the story about a very sad unbeliever who was seated next to a Christian man on a train. During the trip, the unsaved man began to cry and weep. The believer said to him, “I see you are troubled and sad. Is there some way I can help you?”
The sorrowful man replied, “I’ve just lost my wife. Our home seems so empty. All I have left to keep me company is her parakeet.”
The believer replied, “Well, as a Christian I have the Paraclete — the Holy Spirit. He never leaves me. And He will meet your need if you’ll allow Him to.”
Paraclete, in the Greek, means “comforter” and is the name given for the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we have the constant, unfailing presence of the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us.
Our Spiritual Gift-giver
The Holy Spirit also controls the spiritual gifts bestowed upon the body of Christ, the Church. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge…to another faith…to another the gifts of healing… to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
God gives these gifts to each believer, as He wills. Each of us has been given a very special gift — and the Holy Spirit will guide us into a place of service using the particular gift He has chosen for us. He will also give us power when using that gift.
Peter had the gift of communication — the ability to preach. But after he was filled with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:8; 2:4), he not only had the gift but also the fruit… boldness (see Acts 4:13). So the Holy Spirit not only gives us spiritual gifts, He also gives us the ability (fruit) and strength to use them.
Spiritual gifts are not given to hoard for our own benefit or enjoyment. They are given to enable us to minister to others. And the Spirit will provide the opportunity — He will definitely show us our place of service.
I believe there are times, depending on the circumstances, when more than one gift of the Spirit may be exercised through you. A situation may arise where there is no one else to depend on and the Holy Spirit manifests (or works) a particular gift through you to meet a particular need at a particular time. It may be a gift that has never operated in your life before, but when the Spirit puts you in a situation, He will illuminate your mind to meet the need. You will discover that where God guides, He provides.
The Holy Spirit is our Keeper
Not only is our Spirit Guide with us in life, but He remains with us even after death.
Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman relates a beautiful story about how he personally discovered this thrilling truth. He was sitting in his home, reading an address delivered by Dr. Moorhead at a Bible Conference. Dr. Moorhead declared that when one becomes a child of God, the Spirit of God comes in to dwell in that person and will continue in that body until the Resurrection. Even after the human spirit has departed to be with the Lord, the third member of the godhead remains with that body until the Resurrection.
Dr. Chapman said that as he thought about this, he started to cry. He said, “We hitched the horse to the carriage, and my wife and I rode out to a little graveyard where we had buried our firstborn son. As we stood there beside that little grave, we said, Thank You, Lord, for keeping watch.’ Immediately the peace of God flooded our souls.” He went on, “Later, when I stood by the grave of my mother, again I said, ‘Thank You, Holy Spirit, for staying with Your temple and keeping watch.'”
What a comfort! On the day of Resurrection the Spirit will touch the body with new life, reunite it with the soul, and sweep our triuned body, soul, and spirit to be with God. How amazing and beautiful!
I encourage you today to get in contact with your Spirit Guide. But don’t be fooled by the false teachers of the so-called New Age Movement. Satan always has a counterfeit for the real and profitable things in life. He would like to deceive you into listening to his emissaries of evil and guide you into darkness. But he is no match for the real “Spirit Guide” — the Holy Spirit, who will always guide you into all truth. Remember, Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
To my brother in Christ,
My wife and I have followed your ministry for many years and greatly appreciate your knowledge and steadfast conviction on the doctrine of Jesus Christ. As an adult Sunday school teacher and Deacon I have taught the bible for 16yrs. I have always been a study of prophecy and just recently purchased The Prophecy Bible.
In reading the book of Daniel and Revelation I have learned more in your analysis of the end times than all of my 16yrs. of teaching the bible. I like you believe the soon return of Jesus is evident as the USA becomes more secular and disobedient towards God.
We are presently living in the shadows of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse who are about to mount their horses.
I thank-you for now possessing the knowledge of end-time events and only wish I could prophesy to my fellow man as well as you do.
You have brought me closer to God and I am forever grateful.
May God bless you and Rexella in your continued love and work for Jesus Christ, to save souls and change lives before God’s grace comes to an end.
Deacon G. L. S.
Great man and woman of God I so look forward to newsletter every week. This weeks letter encourages the true sons and daughter of God to endure the trials we face on this Christian journey. Through your ministry and truth you preach from the Word of God. We will press towards the mark for the prize under the guidance of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
May you continue to do Gods work and may God bless both you and your wife in abundance with divine health and prosperity.
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