My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

The Light of God's Truth - "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him will not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

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Jesus for Life

Words of encouragement

Know that you can trust Jesus. Pray from your heart, to Him. Listen to Him as He speaks to you through His Word, the Bible.Pray that He will open the eyes of your understanding, that He will call you to Him to be one of His children, that He will guide your heart and your mind into the way of truth and into His glorious Light. That He will give you the desire to submit to His rule over all your entire being.  

Biblical Christianity stands apart from all other ‘religions’. It teaches that  Jesus said that “No one is good – except God alone.”(Mark 10:18).   And that ‘All our righteous acts are like filthy rags ( Isaiah 64:6). And that God is Love:  

We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.   

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.  In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 

We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:13-21)

It teaches us that sinners can be accepted by God only because of Christ’s saving righteous work on the cross: ‘But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.’(Romans 3:21-26) and, ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ (2 Corinthians 5:21) 

It proclaims that Jesus is our Saviour, who has paid our death-penalty with His own life: Jesus said - “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) and, ‘He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.’ (1 Peter 2:24-25)  

It tells of God’s offer of eternal life to anyone who repents and believes: "The time has come," Jesus said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15) . "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16-17)   ’For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)  

Those who accept this free gift of God can know that they are going to heaven when their bodies die, because their acceptance before God is in Jesus Christ, not in themselves. Jesus assured His disciples, saying: “However …. rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” (Luke 10:20). He said: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.” (John 10:27-30)  

The Holy Spirit is also responsible for guaranteeing our eternal future. At the moment of our salvation, when we become a Christian, He comes to dwell in each believer: ‘And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of his glory.’ (Ephesians 1:13-14)  

Our salvation does not depend on anything that we did or do, or can do in the future. Once we have obeyed what Jesus commands us to do - “Repent, and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15).  we are saved forever. But we have to truly repent – it is not a casual turning around that is involved, but a heart-felt desire and commitment for a complete change in our way of life. ‘… that inward change of mind, affections, convictions, and commitment rooted in the fear of God and sorrow for offences committed against Him, which, when accompanied by faith in Jesus Christ, results in an outward turning from sin to God and His service in all of our future life. It is never regretted, and it is given by God’ (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology).              

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).  Jesus said: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)  

[Please note that we have underlined the ‘ed’ in some of the words above to highlight for you that these things are in the past tense. They are not uncertain – they are done ! Completed. Also notice that Jesus sees what He calls us to do to be ‘freedom’, ‘easy’, and ‘light’! Mankind makes it otherwise.] 

Something else which we must say to you is that the Bible contains everything we need to know for our salvation: ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17)  

Also, remember that Jesus pointed out to the Jews that God’s word must be the basis against which we judge everything that mankind suggests (even, or especially, our religious leaders), before we accept it: ‘Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honour your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'   But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to 'honour his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:  "'These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'"(Matthew 15:3-9) and, ‘Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.’ (Acts 17:10-11) and, Paul writes: ‘I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!’(Galatians 1:6-9), and "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.  And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.  Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.  The greatest among you will be your servant.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. (Matthew 23:8-13)  

It is clear, reading the whole Bible, that mankind is very skilful at creating confusion (darkness) of simple things (light). It is as though they want to live in ignorance of the simple truth. I believe that this is the outworking of the spiritual battle. Satan is attempting to rule the whole earth, and his darkness pervades the whole earth. He creates confusion and chaos. He is the original liar :Jesus said to them,  "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!” (John 8:42-46) , and

  The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

   For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

   Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:18-25)  

The gospel message is clear. It is simple. It is not complicated. It is clear for everyone to read in the Bible. It is simple enough for everyone to read it and to understand it – even poorly educated people. Yet how few people even read the Bible these days! And when they do, so many of them stop reading because they do not like to hear that ALL humans are sinful. This is not good news to their ears, and they stop reading before they come to the REALLY GOOD NEWS that Jesus has died for them already, to make atonement and propitiation for their sins. And there is another part that they do not like, which is that they MUST REPENT and give control of their whole being into God’s care. This pride and rebellious disobedience is the same problem that Adam and Eve had with God’s command not to eat from one tree in the Garden of Eden – and they too were rebels and disobeyed God.  

Humans are enslaved to Satan – only Jesus can set us free from Satan: To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.” (John 8:31-38)  

Because we are slaves to sin and because Satan does not want us to turn to Jesus for His free offer of salvation, Satan creates darkness and confusion, so that we cannot hear or understand God’s free offer! Clever trick. How can we tell if something is from Satan or from God, especially as Satan can do amazing tricks to fool mankind: ‘For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect - if that were possible.’ (Mark 13:22-23) and, For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.(2 Corinthians 11:13-15) , and  ‘The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,  and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth

but have delighted in wickedness.'    (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

and Jesus said to Paul: “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.“ (Acts 26:15-18)     

It is by the fruit of a tree that we are able to tell whether a tree is good or bad. The same method is to be used to tell whether something is from God or from Satan: Jesus said -  “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.   Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:15-20)  

We know that the entire Bible points us to Jesus Christ and to the salvation which faith in Jesus’ death and bodily resurrection purchased for believers. So we can know for sure that anything which distracts us from our total adoration and worship of Jesus is from Satan. Because the fruit of a bad tree is bad. Worshipping or praying to idols, for example. Worshipping or praying to created beings, living or departed, for example. We read in the last chapter of the Bible – ‘I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me.  But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!’’ ’ (Revelation 22:8-9)  

And, at the end, we will be raised to be bodily with Him: 'I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.' (1 Corinthians 15:50 -57), and 'Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.  We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.' (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)

Dear friend, God is with you. Do not be afraid. Pray to God, through Jesus. He will hear you and He will help you as you struggle with your heart. Pray directly to God. He is YOUR Father. You are His child. He will welcome you and He welcomes your prayers and He will resolve your spiritual battle.

And pray for us too, that He will keep us strong and faithfully serving Him and not be afraid to stand up for Him in this evil world, even if it costs us our very lives.  

Keep faithfully reading His Word, every day. Diligently study His Word. Each day, before you read, I would like to suggest that you pray to God, asking that He will open the eyes of your understanding of  what you are about to read, that He will reveal His will for you in your life in what you read, and that He will strengthen you to put into action what you learn from His Word.  

God is with you, now;  living inside you. And, if you have sincerely repented from your old way of life and have now accepted Jesus as Lord of your life, to the exclusion of all other, know that your soul is already NOW seated in Heaven with Him - read Ephesians 2:6!  We wait impatiently now for the resurrection of our bodies!  He loves us more than we will ever realise. ’Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!’ (2 Corinthians 9:15)  

Dear friend – ‘May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.’              (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

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