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June 17, 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

How Do You Handle Guilt


“How do I handle the guilt of having lived in adultery for twenty years?” a woman asked me.


First, I led her to the Lord. Then I assured her that the past was forgotten, just as if she had never sinned. The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). The moment we receive Him, we start a new life. Our past is never remembered again.


God has promised, “Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 8:12). It is often said that God casts our sins into the sea of His forgetfulness and puts up a sign: “No fishing allowed.”


However, Satan can use guilt feelings to rob us of our joy and effectiveness for Christ. Often he brings to our remembrance the past with all its ugliness. To overcome this assault, we must have full assurance that we have been forgiven of our sin (the promise of 1 John 1:9). Then we must dwell with Christ in daily communion, constantly aware of His glory and the joy of knowing that He wants to use us in spite of our past.


Having received forgiveness in Christ, we must next forgive ourselves for our failures. This is what I believe the apostle Paul was thinking when he wrote, “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Phil. 3:13).


I picture Paul sitting down one day and, in a state of despair, declaring, “I am the worst of sinners.” Then the Holy Spirit whispers, “Forget those things which are behind. You did your best. You did all that you could do, and God knows all about it, so forget all the things which are behind you. Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Christ” (see Phil. 3:13,14).


The Holy Spirit makes the same statement to us today. Do all that you can now and leave the rest with the Lord. Look toward the future.


Our thought processes can work to our advantage or to our disadvantage. I believe that “Gird up the loins of your mind” (1 Pet. 1:13) means don’t allow yourself to look back, especially on failure and on the sins for which you have been forgiven. Think on those things that edify the soul. Philippians 4:8 expresses beautifully the kinds of thoughts that should fill the minds of Christians: things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.


It is very hard for me to reflect on my life. I have found it much healthier to look ahead, reflecting only long enough to say “Thank you, Lord.” I never wallow in guilt, even for two minutes. I will not allow my mind to do that.


I learned to control my thoughts at a very young age. After singing in church one night, I was angry with myself because I thought I had done a bad job. My brother Bob asked, “Did you do your best?”


“Yes, I did,” I answered.


He simply said, “Well?”


“Thank you, Bob,” I replied.


That lesson stuck with me. During the first year of our ministry, I fought those angry feelings when I didn’t do a good job. The Holy Spirit seemed to speak to me as Bob had done.


“Did you do your best?”


I did.


“Well?”


I realized that although I might not do a superb job every night, I could do my best… and that’s all that is required.


Each of us struggles with personal failure. Remember Paul’s frustration in Romans 7? The things he wanted to do, he didn’t do. The things he didn’t want to do, he ended up doing. That is also true in my life. I echo his cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 7:24,25).


You may feel guilty over a son or daughter who has strayed away from God. Don’t condemn yourself by asking, “Where did I go wrong?” Did you do your best in rearing him or her for Christ? Then claim the promise of Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Don’t spend the rest of your days in regret. Rather, seek God’s guidance in helping your child now. Forget the past and let your love and concern show through your prayers to the God who cares. Hands off — God is at work!


We will never be perfect in this life, but it’s good to know we have been forgiven — not only for our past sins, but also for our daily shortcomings and the weaknesses that will cause us to fall short of the glory of God throughout life on earth.


Think of it! We are forgiven… past, present, and future! “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1).


No condemnation! And no guilt!



CHANGED LIVES-one at a time

Dear Jack & Rexella,


I just wanted to send you a word of encouragement and let you know that I am extremely proud of you for taking the stand you have in regards to today’s false prophets in the pulpits! Today’s church is in sorry shape with all its political correctness, Hollywood musicals, and feel-good sermons! It’s time for true Christians to stand up for God’s truth – to demand that the Bible and only the Bible be preached in the pulpits! Shame on TBN for being so willing to compromise and for trying to silence the truth in order to protect those that you were courageous enough to name – those that are NOT preaching the true Word of God.


It is my belief that our awesome God will indeed richly bless you and your ministry for what you’ve endured for His name’s sake! Keep up the good work of keeping people informed of God’s truths!! I will be praying for you and your ministry.


In Christ,

N. N.

Grand Junction, Colorado


 

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Van Impe,


I just wanted to take a second to tell you how very much I enjoy and appreciate your program. I recently started watching your program after praying to God and asking him to draw me near to him in what I truly believe to be the End Times. Watching your show has really helped to open my eye’s to how close we really are to seeing are Lords return :)I often listen to your past episodes over my stereo aloud at work for my coworkers to here as they pass by. Often they will stop and listen for a minute with real interest and then bring it up later during are lunch break where a few of us will have a good end times discussion. Even non-believers where I work can’t help but to be intrigued by the discussions we carry and makes for a great way to get people interested in God’s word. I feel that I’m closer to God now as I find myself praying to myself often now and have a real sense of peace now that I know only God can give me. I thank God for both of you and for using you and though I don’t know either of you personally, I feel a real connection with you through our love for Christ. I pray that God continues to bless you both and look forward to your future episodes!


Sincerely

N. C.



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The Bible says in these latter days the love of many will grow cold – apostasy will set in – and supposed religious leaders will have a form of godliness but lack its power.


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