Revelation 21:4-5 – God Shall

Revelation 21:4-5
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

-“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:1, 31)  Unfortunately, we came along and broke everything with sin and rebellion and God has been cleaning up our mess ever since.  The good news, however, is that God will clean the mess up; He wipes away our sins (Isaiah 43:25) which is the cause of the problem, He will wipe away the heaven and the earth (Revelation 21:1) which is the place contaminated by the problem, and ultimately He will wipe away every tear from our eyes which comes from the remembrance of the problem.

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Luke 22:70-71, Luke 23:1 – But By My Spirit…

Luke 22:70-71, Luke 23:1
70 
Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am.
71 And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.
1 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.

-God’s plan for the nation of Israel was for them to be the prophets and priests who would bring the Light of the Messiah to the Gentiles. (Exodus 19:5-6)  Israel’s unbelief left them unable to fulfill this role; but because of the rebellion that sprang from their unbelief, what did they do with Jesus when they captured Him?  They took Him straight to the Romans- straight to the Gentiles.  Because of Israel’s hardness of heart, Roman rulers declared the righteousness of Christ (John 19:6, 19), by Roman decree, the Lord’s title was prominently displayed in the languages of the day (Luke 23:38), and most importantly, Romans soldiers and citizens looked on the Messiah and believed (Mark 15:39).  Israel may have failed in their calling to evangelize the world, but the weakness of man cannot hinder the will of God.  “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

Luke 18:19-23 – Yet lackest thou one thing…

Luke 18:19-23
19 
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

-This rich, young ruler who approached Jesus seemed to be off to a promising start, but with a single request, Jesus shed light on an area of the ruler’s life that kept him from truly surrendering to God.  Is giving away all of our possessions a prerequisite to being saved?  No; but the Lord is always going to go after the things in our lives that truly risk supplanting His place as Lord in our hearts.  For some it is money, for others it is pride, it could be sex or drugs or bitterness.  If you looked Jesus in the eyes right now, what’s the one thing that He would ask you to let go of?  What’s the one thing that’s really keeping you from living the Christ-centered life that we should all be living?  If you’re reading this right now, He’s already asking; won’t you let it go?

Luke 10:38-42 – Careful and Troubled

Luke 10:38-42
38
 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

-Martha tends to get a bad rap when this section of scripture is discussed; after all, she is the one who doesn’t take the time to listen to the Word of God and then complains on someone else for doing what she should have been doing.  But I would like to point out two redeeming qualities in Martha’s situation:  1) Even though she had become “cumbered about much serving“, she was attempting to be a good hostess to the great Man she had invited into her home; she was trying to serve and please the Lord Himself.  Not to justify her actions, but if Martha was going to get carried away in her labor, at least she was laboring for the right One.  2) When she decided to complain, she took her complaint to Jesus Himself.  Imagine how differently things would have been if Martha had went straight to Mary and started yelling at her; or worse yet, if she had buried her feelings and let them turn into bitterness.  By taking her wrong attitude straight to the Lord, she opened herself up to the very instruction which she had been missing.

Isaiah 28:16 – A Precious Stone

Isaiah 28:16
16 
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

-The prophet Isaiah, speaking of the coming Lord Jesus Christ, refers to Him as a “Precious Stone“. One of the properties that makes a stone precious is its rarity.  There can be plenty of good-looking rocks out there, but every so often one comes along that you’ve never seen before and will probably never see the like again and that is something to be valued.  Demographers speculate that there have been approximately 108 billion people in human history and yet there has only ever been “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5); that sounds pretty rare to me.  Where else could you find someone who would lay down their life for yours and even if you found someone willing, whom else’s life could actually afford salvation for any of us?  Such a Savior is rare indeed and if we don’t accept Him, “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins“. (Hebrews 10:26)

2 Timothy 2:3 – Endure

2 Timothy 2:3
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

-Paul helped get Timothy started in the ministry by writing him letters teaching him how to be a man of God.  In the course of those letters, Paul makes this statement in 2:3 to Timothy as a reminder that trouble and opposition is never far from those who follow Jesus.  We will have good days, and for certain there will be a day where sin has been put away and everything will be good; but we must never forget that we live in a world presently ruled by Satan (John 14:30, 2 Corinthians 4:4), the one who hates God the most.  It should come as no surprise that he wants to make things difficult for us.  Paul’s admonition to Timothy holds true for us as well:  when hardness comes, ENDURE; for “if thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10)  And when you endure, don’t be as those who murmur and complain; but rather, endure with patience and longsuffering as a battle-hardened soldier in the Lord’s Host.

2 Peter 1:5-10 – Add To Your Faith…

2 Peter 1:5-10
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

-Have you ever cranked your car and, without realizing it was running, tried to crank it again?  When we get ready to drive, our first instinct is to crank the car.  If we don’t recognize any evidence of having already completed that step, our instinct kicks in and we turn the key.  I often come across Christians making this same mistake in regards to salvation.  At one point in their life, they followed Biblical command and wholeheartedly committed themselves to the Lord; but if they fail to see any evidence of having completed the first step their instincts tell them that they need to start the process over from the beginning.  Hence people make professions of faith and “get saved” multiple times throughout their spiritual journey.  The problem (in some cases, not all) is not a lack of salvation, the problem is a lack of spiritual growth.  Just like a quiet car won’t give you many signs that it’s already fired up, a Christian without signs of sanctification, increased knowledge of God’s word, and spiritual maturity will appear to be someone who was never saved in the first place.

John 6:26-27 – But Because Ye Were Filled

John 6:26-27
26 
Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

-So often those who are skeptical of the Lord will seek after a miraculous sign or a convincing argument in order to see the light; just as often those of us who believe attempt to employ those same tactics to win the skeptics over.  The Bible teaches us, however, that eloquent words and strange signs won’t bring a lasting faith and nowhere is that truth better stated than by Jesus Himself right here in verse 26.  Those who follow Jesus do so not because of a miracle or a “sales pitch”, but because He filled the emptiness in their life which is here represented by physical hunger.  There is a void in each of our lives, created by God to be filled by His companionship which we seek to fill with money, love, excess- but all of these things will ultimately fall short of a true relationship with the Lord.  There is a depth to the love of God that answers any need.  If you feel as though something is missing in your life, “taste and see that the LORD is good”.  (Psalm 34:8)

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 – Death

1 Corinthians 15:55-57
55
 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

-They say only death and taxes are certain; “they” are half right.  Death stalks everything that lives and it has been that way since mankind first rebelled against God. (Genesis 3)  Death stalked a Man roughly 2000 years ago and the Man did succumb.  Was this Man defeated in death?  No.  He said Himself that He had “power to lay [His life] down, and power to take it again”.  (John 10:18)  Jesus proved too strong for death to hold.  What’s more, He proved strong enough to completely defeat death and now holds “the keys of hell and of death “. (Revelation 1:18)  All hail Jesus Christ the victorious!

Matthew 1:21 – Call His Name Jesus

Matthew 1:21
21
 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Hebrews 7:22
22
 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

Hebrews 8:6
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

-Did you know that the word “Sin” occurs 336 times in the Old Testament and only 112 in the New Testament?  “Shame” is mentioned 84 times in the Old Testament and only 16 in the New Testament while the word “Remember” occurs 121 times in the Old Testament and only 27 times in the New Testament.  What could account for the difference between the two?  There is another word that is mentioned 983 times in the New Testament but never spoken in the Old Testament.  That word is “Jesus” and, just as the Angel declared here to Mary, the Lord was so named because He would save His people from their sin, from their shame, and from their awful remembrance of having carried both.