Weekly Newsletter – December 26, 2016
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
The Lord Jesus Christ:
Saviour of the World
The Holy Bible gives God’s Son manifold titles. However, the one that means so much to all of us as poor, helpless sinners is “Saviour”- which immediately instills hope within one’s heart concerning salvation. The very name Jesus means “salvation.” Matthew 1:21 states, Thou shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Multitudes today are trusting in man-made rituals to get them inside God’s heaven. Yet, there isn’t a ceremonial rite in all of Christendom’s churches that can save a man. Jesus Christ alone is the only way to eternal life.
Christ’s saving power
In that tremendous portion of Scripture often described as the “Magnificat,” Mary, the mother of Jesus, cried out, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour (Luke 1:46,47). In Luke 2, the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, saying, Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (verses 10,11).
Also in Luke 2, Simeon had been waiting for the consolation or hope of Israel. He jubilantly exclaimed, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation (verses 29,30). He was looking upon the Christ child as he spoke those words.
Again in John 4, a wicked woman-who had five husbands and who was living under common law with number six-turned to Jesus Christ for forgiveness. Then she excitedly ran back to the city and told the people about her newfound joy in this Saviour who had blotted out her sordid past. The men of that city listened to the Lord’s discourses for two days and exuberantly stated, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world (verse 42).
In Acts 5, Peter and some of the apostles were threatened with punishment, even unto death (verse 33). However, the great Apostle Peter so loved Jesus. He believed so strongly in the fact that Jesus was the only way of salvation and eternal life that he was willing to die in order that the message might be proclaimed. I can almost hear this impulsive preacher saying, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour (verses 29-31).
Acts 13:23 calls Him a Saviour, Jesus. Ephesians 5:23 says, Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Compare this verse with 1 Corinthians 12:13, For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body. The body of Christ, into which one is implanted at the time of regeneration, is the Church, and Ephesians 5:23 states that Christ is the Saviour of this body. Baptism, reformation, confirmation, works, creeds, and human efforts cannot place one into the true Church because only the Lord Jesus Christ is the Saviour of this body. Amen!
The Apostle Paul stated that one of the reasons he was willing to endure suffering, torture, and even death was because of his trust in the Saviour. Death could only mean that the One who saved him would welcome him home to heaven. Hear him in 1 Timothy 4:10. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
In 2 Timothy 1:9 and 10, Paul went on to say that it was not a system of self-attainment through works that would place him eternally in the glory land, but rather a precious Saviour whose name was Jesus Christ. Listen to the simplicity of these instructive verses. [God] hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel [or through the good news].
Again, He hath abolished death. What wonderful words! And [He] hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Immortality speaks of eternal life-and it comes through the gospel or the “good news.” Do you get the impact? Eternal life is through the gospel and gospel means “good news.”
This good news is explained in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 where we find that Christ died, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. Put it all together and it simply says that everlasting life does not come through one’s denominational record or good works. It comes as a result of one’s acceptance of the Saviour’s death by the shedding of blood and of His resurrection. Titus 2:13 speaks of Christ’s return by stating, Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Notice that it is not Buddha, Mohammed, or Zoroaster who is the Saviour, but only the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other Saviour-Jesus is the only way. Second Peter 1:1 again calls Him our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Christ’s earthly ministry
“Saviour” is not some honorary title which was bestowed upon the Lord Jesus Christ in recognition of His wonderful teachings. Rather, it depicts His ministry upon earth and speaks of His saving power.
Presently, we are living in a time of rebellion. Corrupted mankind is trying to destroy all of our foundational structures. This trend can also be witnessed in the religious world as apostate, liberal clergymen mock the doctrines of the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, His blood atonement upon the cross, and His bodily resurrection. Many laugh at the statement “Jesus Saves” as if the word “saves” were an invention of some simpleton.
Our God predicted this would happen, and it is one of the signs of the end. Second Peter 2:1,2: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be [one of the signs] false teachers among you, who privity shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
There are two things one can do for these poor misguided souls: (1) pray for them, and (2) thank God for their presence because it means that Jesus Christ is coming soon to call Christians home. Let them laugh. The term saved was placed in the Bible scores of times by a holy God. One had better investigate and accept this truth if he is interested in eternal life.
I could quote numerous verses proving that salvation is of God and that God put this word in the Bible. However, let’s limit our discussion to those which speak exclusively about Christ being the way of salvation: Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost (Matthew 18:11). God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him [Jesus] might be saved (John 3:17).
Jesus said, I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved (John 10:9). I came not to judge the world, but to save the world (John 12:47).
Paul said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31). For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ [not rites, ceremonies, rituals, the Sermon on the Mount, the Golden Rule, or the Ten Commandments, but the gospel or the good news of Christ]: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth (Romans 1:16). We shall be saved from wrath through him (Romans 5:9). If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9).
In 1 Corinthians 15:1,2 we find this statement, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel [the good news] which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved. How? Verses 3 and 4: Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and…he was buried, and…he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. This alone is the message of the gospel, the good news, the only way of salvation. Christ died, shed His blood, and rose again.
Christ’s redeeming blood
Christ’s power to save all the world was wrought through His precious blood shed on Calvary. Leviticus 17:11: It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Acts 20:28: The church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. First Peter 1:18,79: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Revelation 1:5: Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. Yes, without [the] shedding of blood [there] is no remission [of sins] (Hebrews 9:22).
It is not enough simply to state that Christ died-as so many intellectuals do today in order to do away with the sacrifice of His blood. A bloodless death on the cross would not have saved anyone. Let me repeat that. Had Christ died of a heart attack or of suffocation upon the cross, mankind would have been lost forever, for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Because of this fact, Christ came to earth to take upon himself a body with blood so that He might shed that blood for our sins (see Hebrews 10:5). When one receives this sacrifice of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, he is saved immediately.
Christ’s redemptive purpose
If the Lord Jesus Christ is the Saviour and has saving power, we may conclude that He came to earth because sinners need saving. This is exactly what Paul said. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (Timothy 1:15). Not only does this statement include everyone we know, but ourselves as well. Christ would have all men to be saved, including you and me (see 1 Timothy 2:4). [Christ] gave himself a ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:6).
The only reason some people will never get saved is that they do not realize that they are lost. They think they were born into sainthood just like the Pharisee in the temple. He said, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are (Luke 18:11). However, Jesus said in Matthew 5:20, Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Why? The Pharisees were so caught up in the admiration of their own goodness that they were convinced they needed nothing from God-nothing at all! Yet, God says in Isaiah 64:6, We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Galatians 3:22: The scripture hath concluded all under sin. Thus, God not only wants to save mankind from the misery of sin in this life, but also from the eternal penalty into which sin will drag those who reject Christ. He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth [eternity] on him (John 3:36). Why? Because he won’t receive the Son.
Oh, my friend, if you are lost, the Saviour longs to save you. You need saving because all are sinners and only through His blood can you be washed white. You may be whitewashed because you’ve had all the rituals of the Church performed upon you, but you really need to be washed white to inherit eternal life! Why not call on Him right now, saying, “Lord Jesus, come into my heart.”
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Who Is Mary?
It seems to me that most Christians today – especially Protestants – spend little time thinking about Mary.
Oh, once a year she shows up on a Christmas card, shown either riding on a donkey’s back or keeping a silent vigil beside the newborn Christ child in the manger.
Even then, she may be scarcely noticed amid the animals, shepherds, and wise men.
On those occasions when we do think about Mary, our main concern may be maintaining the proper balance between reserve and respect for this remarkable woman. Yet we can’t fully understand the miracle of the Christmas story if we fail to consider Mary’s role. She’s really the central human figure in one of the most important events in the history of mankind.
Who was Mary? What relevance does her life have to our personal faith?
I am astounded by her comprehension and calm acceptance of the monumental miracle the angel Gabriel announced would happen. Imagine a poor, uneducated peasant girl being told she would conceive and give birth to a great king, the Son of God! Yet Mary understood … and she believed.
Perhaps one of the few people Mary could confide in during this time was her cousin, Elisabeth, who was to be the mother of John the Baptist. Elisabeth confirmed that what was happening to Mary was divinely ordained and encouraged her. Blessed is she that believed, said Elisabeth, for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord (Luke 1:45).
In the midst of today’s relaxed (collapsed?) moral standards, it may be difficult for us to realize the sacrifice Mary had to make to agree to yield herself to the Holy Spirit. In her culture, for an unmarried woman to be found with child could have resulted in a death sentence! At the very least, she faced misunderstanding by most people, probable rejection by her betrothed, and scorn and shame in the eyes of her contemporaries.
Which of us would have the courage and strength to subject ourselves to such an ordeal? But Mary’s strong faith moved her to cooperate with God’s plan. Her simple, humble response was, Be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38).
Mary stands out in the Gospel story as the symbol of the true humanity of Jesus. She is the link between the divinity of Christ and the humanity of all mankind. Jesus could not have been completely God and completely man without Mary’s role.
Without question, Mary and her husband, Joseph, played an important role in shaping and influencing the developing years of the young Jesus. As a youngster, Jesus was taught the scriptures and the laws of God. When He amazed the learned scholars in Jerusalem at age twelve, one can say that His divinity shone through … but He also had been taught and trained to do His homework.
And it may well have been at home that Jesus learned the words He cried in Gethsemane — "Not my will, but thine be done!" Certainly His mother had set an example before Him of humble submission to the plan of God.
The character exemplified in the life of Mary is an inspiration and challenge to every believer. She was courageous, committed, compassionate, and concerned.
I envision Mary having great strength and durability, yet remaining complete and perfect femininity. She was courageous, going calmly and with dignity where few others would have been willing to go. She faced hardship, opposition, even danger, with no complaints. She was willing to let God’s Will be done in her life.
After facing the ostracism and personal humiliation of being pregnant without a husband, Mary had the strength and courage to mount a donkey only a few days before giving birth and make the long, hard journey to Bethlehem.
And it must have taken courage of another kind to deal with the throngs of strangers who came to visit her newborn son —shepherds, wise men from the East, and doubtless other curious onlookers.
Later, when Herod sought to kill all babies in the land, she helped save Jesus from the slaughter by journeying to Egypt with Joseph and the child to live among foreigners. Did this take courage? Absolutely!
And let’s not forget the courage demanded of Mary to take on the responsibility for rearing and nurturing Jesus through His childhood and into manhood. It takes great courage to be the parent of any child — how much more to be the mother of the Son of God?
Once Mary heard and responded to the angel’s announcement that she was chosen for a divine commission, she was committed.
From that moment on, she never wavered or looked back.
Her commitment was complete — she set aside any personal ambitions and dreams to make herself available to God’s plan. Her whole life was dedicated to carrying out the diving mission to which God had called her.
So seriously did she take her responsibility that the crisis of losing and finding her Son again in Jerusalem when He was twelve prompted her to scold Him for causing her such concern. And Jesus gently rebuked her by reminding her that He must be about His Father’s business.
And a few years later at Calvary, her commitment kept her at the foot of the cross while almost everyone else fled. Even in the face of what must have been tremendous anguish to see her Son’s suffering, she remained committed to God’s plan.
From the beginning of her adult life, Mary lived her life for others. She put the needs of others before her own and ministered to those around her — husband, family, and friends.
I imagine Mary as being the perfect embodiment of all the marvelous qualities of the virtuous wife described in Proverbs 31. She was humble, but supremely capable and efficient in her efforts to serve.
Can you imagine this woman going around very arrogantly, saying "Treat me special – I am the mother of the Son of God"? Of course not.
Surely Jesus patterned part of His life after her example. When He promised rest to those who labor and are heavy laden, He said, I am meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29). I am sure as a child He must have observed the qualities of humility and compassion in her daily life.
Mary’s concern for others
The story of Christ’s first miracle in turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana provides a very telling insight into the character of the mother of Jesus. Even in a situation where providing the refreshments was not her responsibility, Mary was concerned for others. When it became obvious that there was not enough to drink at the wedding feast and the host was about to be embarrassed, she got involved.
She was aware of what was going on around her … and was concerned about the problems of others. But more than feeling sympathy for them, she had a solution. "I know my Son can take care of this," she said.
After making Jesus aware of the problem, she told the servants of the house, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it (John 2:5). And, of course, the Lord did meet the need and the beverage He provided was recognized as the best of the evening!
Truly Mary’s life is an inspiration to us — her courage, commitment, compassion, and concern. Her Christ-like character and devotion is an eloquent witness that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be strong enough to withstand any test, even the crucifying tensions of modern life.
Perhaps the key to Mary’s spiritual life is found in that beautiful Bible passage known as the Magnificat (see Luke 1:46-53). In those wonderful verses it seems one can hear her opening her innermost heart as she cries —
"My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior… holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation."
Thank you, Mary, for the inspiration and Godly example of your faith-filled life! May God help us to magnify the Lord, rejoice in our spirits, and receive His mercy…today, and until His perfect plan is fulfilled around the globe.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Hello Jack and Rexella,
My name is Tayler and I’m currently a freshmen in college. I just wanted to send you a quick message to say thank you for all that you do. My grandfather who passed away when I was very young used to watch your program and my mother currently watches it, which is how I found out about it. I try to watch it weekly from my college dorm room.
I thank you both for saying what many people in our country and world are too afraid to speak up about. Being in college, I see there are a lot of people who turn a blind eye to these issues and there is a great need for Jesus all around us. I learn so much about Bible prophecy and current events from watching your program, and it has helped me grow in my walk with Jesus. God bless you both and keep up the great work!
Yes, I absolutely love your newsletter and have watched your TV show for years. Thank you SO much for bringing us the Truth of the Bible in such a fallen, “feel good” world. Thank you for teaching about hell and not just telling the folks what they want to hear as do some other preachers nowadays. God bless you both for blessing so very many people and saving countless souls, because Jesus is about to return soon. Maranatha!
With Love in Christ,
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Dr. Jack Van Impe’s wonderful year-long devotional, Soul Food: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread is the perfect daily reading to keep you growing in God, looking forward to His return, and finding peace, comfort and hope for each new day, every day of the year. There’s a daily memory verse to help you keep learning new Scriptures throughout the year, plus powerful insight from the man called “The Walking Bible.” This is great devotional material for you, and it makes a wonderful gift for a loved one.