Weekly Newsletter – December 3, 2018
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Whitewashed or Washed White?
Everything a Christian is or can ever become is because of the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:19). Now if this is so—and it is— what does Christ’s blood accomplish and why is it called “precious”?
We are saved by the blood
First, one is saved by the blood of Jesus. Have you ever heard a clergyman say, “The message of the cross is passé. Enlightened humanity no longer believes in such a primitive message. Doing one’s best is all God requires, so forget the fanatic’s ravings about Christ’s blood. At best this is but a ‘slaughterhouse’ religion”?
Do you know why ministers make such blasphemous statements? The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 1:18, The preaching of the cross [and the blood] is to them that perish foolishness. Now these Bible-rejecting perpetrators of error are literally enemies of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18). They literally mock the language of God’s Book which states, He [was] brought as a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), and it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11).
Their bloodless religion proves that they are taking orders from another spirit, for 1 Timothy 4:1 declares, Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. Say, neighbor, instead of listening to men, begin believing Christ! He, at the first communion service, said, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28). Believe Him!
We are justified by the blood
Second, a sinner is justified by the blood. Does this term boggle the mind? It need not. It is simple to grasp when the term justification is presented in laymen’s language. Do the following. Break the word justify into syllables. The results: JUST-DF-I. Now add the words, HAD NEVER SINNED. There you have it in all of its magnificent simplicity: “JUST-IF-I-HAD NEVER SINNED.” In other words, when one comes to Christ and has the shed blood applied for the remission of his personal sins, immediately, yea instantaneously, God looks upon that person as though he had never committed one single sin.
Is this possible? Yes, because God no longer sees the erring one, but He sees His Son and the merits of Christ’s atoning blood covering the sinner. Say, isn’t that startling news? You can have a new beginning in life today, for Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Yes, all this is true for any and all who open their minds and hearts to Christ. When they do, they are justified by his blood (Romans 5:9). Yes, justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…through faith in his blood (Romans 3:24,25). Why continue being a loser when blessing unspeakable simply awaits your decision?
We experience redemption through the blood
Third, one experiences redemption through Christ’s blood. Is this terminology confusing? Does it sound like a name given to a center issuing gifts for S&H Green Stamps? Well, the gift about to be discussed dwarfs man’s most esteemed prizes. Why? What is redemption? It is to deliver a thing or person by paying a price. It is to buy back something (see Leviticus 25:47-49).
Let me illustrate. God placed Adam and Eve under a test of obedience in the Garden of Eden. He said in Genesis 2:17, But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die. The slithering, slimy serpent said, Ye shall not surety die (Genesis 3:4). Eve listened to the devil rather than to God, for when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat (Genesis 3:6).
Immediately, this act of transgression brought sin into and upon the human race. This selling out of self to the devil placed all of Adam’s descendants under Satan’s bondage. That’s why Romans 5:12 states, Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Again, verse 18: By the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation. Hence, because of Adam’s transgression, we find ourselves in bondage to Satan—yes, sold out to the devil!
You ask, “Who will redeem us, buy us back, liberate us, and set us free?” None other than the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour! It is He who paid the ransom price to buy us back from Satan’s enslavement.
To fully appreciate what God will do for each of us, we must understand how another term, ransom, fits into this mighty work of redemption. In modem society, when a criminal kidnaps another person, he usually asks for ransom money to set the victim free. This is exactly what Christ did for sinners when He shed His blood. He paid the ransom price to buy back sinners. Matthew 20:28 states, The Son of man came…to give his life a ransom for many. Also, There is…one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:5,6).
This means that you do not have to be a slave to debauchery. You do not have to be in bondage to sin for an entire lifetime. Christ wants to set you free. He longs that you experience redemption through his blood (Ephesians 1:7). WOW! It is joy unspeakable and full of glory to be redeemed through the precious blood of Christ (I Peter 1:19).
Now let me illustrate what I have been saying with a thrilling story. Years ago, Dr. A. J. Gordon, after a long and tedious day, decided to take a walk for some relaxation. Soon he noticed a little boy from his Sunday school walking down the street with a cage full of sparrows.
He said, “Tommy, where are you going?”
“Preacher, I just caught these sparrows, and I am taking them home to my cat.”
Dr. Gordon replied, “Tommy, that isn’t very nice, is it? Let me tell you a better plan. I will buy the sparrows for a price.”
“Oh, preacher, I could not sell you these birds because I would be cheating you. They are only insignificant sparrows.”
But Dr. Gordon insisted, “Never mind, son, here is a dollar for each bird in your cage.” The minister gave the little tyke $5, took the cage full of sparrows, prayed that none of his members would see him, dashed up an alley, opened the door of the cage, reached in, took out the sparrows, and hurled them into the air.
The next morning he related the episode in his sermon and said, “As the little birds flew into the heavenlies, I could almost hear them singing, ‘Redeemed! How I love to proclaim it. Redeemed through Dr. Gordon’s ransom money.'”
Friends, this is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ did for lost humanity, for you and me. He shed His precious blood to pay the ransom price to set victimized sinners free. Receive this gift of love today and be redeemed! Let Christ buy you back from Adam’s sell-out to Satan. When it happens, you will sing, “Redeemed! How I love to proclaim it. Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.”
Then, one day in eternity to come, in the presence of Christ himself, you will eternally sing redemption’s story. Revelation 5:9 describes the momentous event. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou [Christ] are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and has redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. What a song, and what a day it will be when the largest choir in history sings about the blood of Jesus Christ the Lamb. Those who refuse to sing about His shed blood now because of intellectual snobbery or rejection of the truth shall be unable to sing in heaven’s greatest assembly. What a loss! Oh, get rid of all preconceived ideas and false reasonings today and trust in Christ’s shed blood immediately for the remission of your sin!
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
I watched you today on my home TV. You touch my heart every week. I love the inspiration and devotionals. I pray for you. I am grateful you are in my life to teach me about the law of love, Jesus Christ and the importance of living my life for his will.
God Bless you Jack Van Impe
Greetings, my name is Ramon, and I want to tell you that your programs have helped me a lot! I have been watching them since the 1990`s when you were in TBN. But, in 2000, I moved to Guadalajara Mexico and that’s when I lost contact of your great programs. When I moved here, I searched and looked for them but, unfortunately with no positive results what so ever. Fortunately, GOD is great! And led me to you again! Praise the Lord!
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