We Are Forgiven

Probably all of us were told by our mothers, “Nobody’s perfect!” But the Bible says it differently, and several times at least: “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God,” (Roman’s 3:23), “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way;” (Isaiah 53:6), and, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,” (1 John 1:8).

So if we all have sinned, and even sin regularly, the real question is: does it matter? Will we escape justice after we die? Or will there be a final reckoning for our careless lack of repentance? Once again, the Bible tells us there will be a judgment, but God also made a way of escape by sending His perfect son, Jesus, who tells us, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 10:45).

How many? “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13.)

Have you received Jesus and believed in who He was and what He did for you? If so, you have been ransomed from your punishment. If not, you are still under the sentence of death and eternal separation from God. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can believe in Jesus and become a child of God NOW.

Donald Marsh ©2020

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He Gave Them Power and Authority

And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. Luke 9:1-6.

When I was a boy, invoking the name of my father gave me power over my siblings. If I gave commands in my own name, I usually got an argument. I also discovered that saying, “If you don’t stop doing that, I’m gonna tell Dad,” was not as powerful as, “Dad said to stop doing that.” One was assumed authority based on my knowledge of what Dad wanted. The other was direct authority. That is the kind of authority Jesus gave His disciples.

Today we have both, because even the assumed authority, based on your knowledge of the will of God, carries the same weight as, “Jesus said to stop doing that,” because He is with us. “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” (Mark 16: 19-20).

Touched By Faith

As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians,f she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peterg said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” Luke 8:42-48.

We may want to be touched by God, but He wants to be touched by us. There are many places in the Bible where we are told that someone’s faith healed them, or at least demonstrates that a person’s faith set the miracle in motion. How often are we waiting for God when He is actually waiting for us?

God is always present, and His word has been recorded that we may access His promises. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3-4).

To experience the power of the next world, you must turn from the powers of this world, and believe in the one who created both worlds. He is always present. We are usually unaware of Him and the unseen world that has power over the seen world. The woman who touched Jesus and was healed was surrounded by people who touched Jesus and received nothing.

Where is Your Faith?

One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” Luke 8:22-25.

It was not the storm, but the fear, that made Jesus question the faith of His disciples. Why did they think they were perishing if the Lord was with them? They had access to someone who healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out devils.

If you don’t believe in Jesus, you have good reason to fear death. You will cling to a paper mask as your blessed hope, and think anyone else a fool who doesn’t do the same. But if you do believe, threats to your life are an opportunity to put your faith on display! As Peter wrote us, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15).

When the world is losing its mind with fear, show them your faith. You may be mocked and ridiculed, but take it as a badge of honor. This is your chance to shine as someone whose hope is in an eternal kingdom, while you critics tremble.

Attributes and Effects of the Word

“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 8:16-21.

After the parable of the sower, Jesus did not move on to a different subject. He is still talking about the word of God. It is meant to be revealed, to shed light. It is not a possession to be held in safekeeping. Not only is it to be openly manifested. It is to be acted on. It is what makes you part of God’s family. So, if you only hear the word of God as a nicestory, or lovely poetry, instead of rules to live by, that light actually becomes darkness.

“Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you,
when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.” (Proverbs 1:24-27).

The Secrets of the Kingdom

And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Luke 8:4-15.

This is such an important teaching that it appears in Matthew and Mark, also. It is about the word of God and how people respond to it. For some, it just bounces right off of them. They do not believe. For others, they believe until it’s easier to believe something else. For yet others, they believe, but they believe a lot of other things, too. But then there are those who remain focused on the truth, and it bears fruit.

I once grew 50 tomato plants just to make sure I got fruit. About half of them died, half of those gave me some fruit, and half of those made the whole enterprise worthwhile. God knows that most people are going to reject His word, flame out early, or take up other gods along the way. But the ones who bear fruit are highly prized.

What kind of fruit is He after? First, the fruit of the spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23.) This is what makes our fruit delicious. The second is also important. Fruit has within it the seeds of reproduction. Good fruit is not some neutered hybrid that cannot produce more plants. It potentially has a huge harvest over generations. That is why it is important to share the word of God. It is our purpose.