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Mal. 3:16 (KJV) Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

 A-Book-of-Remembrance-for-the-RighteousTo them that trust in the Lord, the Bible is an eternal record of the love that the Lord has for His own.  It conveys a message of hope for anyone who desires to be in the family of God.  It speaks of the trials and tribulations the early believers endured to set an example for future generations.  Yet, for unbelievers and outsiders, the Bible seems as folly.  They are neither convinced of nor comprehend the power of the risen Christ, whom God raised from the dead.  Yet, it is these very people that believers have been commissioned to help guide into the family of God; for we ourselves were once foreigners and strangers to the Kingdom.  Now, we are to be vessels of mercy and grace to those who ridicule, mock and deny Him.  Our lives are to be living books of rememberance so that those that see us will marvel at the works of the Lord, and desire to know more about this book of rememberance.  This is our calling.

Gods_ThroneRomans 3:25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

I remember when I was younger, I used to hear the phrase “meeting your maker.”  This phrase was used to describe a person who was very near death.  It meant that upon the death of the person, that person would have to stand before the judgment seat of God.  But is this true?  When a person dies, does that person stand before God?  Notice what Paul said above.  God left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.  Not only did he not judge the sins of the past, but Paul went on further to explain why – that God withheld judgement to demonstrate his righteousness and justice.  This is completely consistent with the parables of the Lord Jesus:
Matt. 13:29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”  In this parable, the time of the harvest is the end of the age.

Matt. 13:47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Again, the parable describes that the separation process will occur at the end of the age.  

Matt. 22:10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”  In this parable, the Lord shows us that the king waited until the hall was filled with guests to determine who had on the proper garments.

Christ Jesus was consistent in His teaching that the judgment would occur at the end of the age, and Paul’s writing was consistent with the doctrine of Christ.  So why do we believe that God judges a person upon that person’s death?  How we perceive death has a great deal to do with it.  In our imperfect humanity, we have a belief that some people deserve to die because of their actions.  In many cases, we would like to think that God has delegated his judgment to us, so that we have been given the authority to adjudicate the life of another.  However, Paul makes it clear that all have sinned, and the wages of sin is death.  In truth, we all have earned the wage of death, because death is the reward for sin.  However, God is not hasty in his judgment, and the Great King, the Holy One whose kingdom is eternal, is patient to administer his perfect and righteous judgment in his time.  God’s judgment is not subject to time as we understand it, for God’s kingdom transcends time.  It isn’t based on the feelings and perception of his creation, neither is it administered according to the whims of man. And the truth is, God’s judgment belongs to him and him alone.  It is time for us to renew our minds to God’s forbearance and kindness toward his creation.

renewedmindRomans 12:Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This is a passage that is much easier said than done.  It requires asking and answering hard questions.  One such question is this: how has my mind been renewed if I believed the same things all of my life?  If my mind has truly been renewed, I cannot look at things the same way I did in the past.

Another hard question that must be asked and answered is this: Am I willing to put everything I have been taught to believe on the altar of sacrifice?  For how can I have the faith of Abraham if I am not willing to do what Abraham did – that is, put obedience to God before everything else, including the son of promise that he loved?

The truth is, Jesus alone doesn’t unite us.  Jesus was a man that everyone saw while he walked the earth.  What unites us is the faith of Abraham – the faith that what God promised he fulfilled in Christ Jesus, whom God raised from the dead.  The faith that we must have is not believing that Christ died, but that He was raised from the dead.  Christ’s death and resurrection was symbolic of what is to occur in us: the old man, the old understanding and the old way of thinking must die, and the new man, the new understanding and the new way of thinking is to arise within us.  This is why Paul wrote that if any man is in Christ he is a NEW creature; old things have passed away, and all things have become new.

Preaching the Kingdom of God – Elder Ronald Mosby

 

Kingdom teaching at Free Indeed Church in Nashville, TN.

Zacchaeus

Luke 19:1 And [Jesus] entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, [there was] a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that [way]. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw [it], they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore [him] fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Eating with a sinner? Unconscionable! As it was then, so it is today. This is the dilemma many well meaning people face. “I can’t be seen with them; what will people think?” The irony of this mentality is that it is the exact opposite of what our Lord instructed His disciples to do, and that was to go out into the world. You can’t fish from the shore; you have to go out into the water where the fish are. Unfortunately, too many Christians are bound by a mindset that says “meet me where I am at,” instead of going out to meet people where they are at. It is not the responsibility of the lost to come up to the level of the Christian; it is the Christian’s responsibility to descend to the level of the lost. What the church needs now is a radical obedience to Christ Jesus – build His church on His terms.

John 6:66 – From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
 
We would like to boast that there is nothing that we would not do for Christ.  Indeed, it is a noble proclamation that we often make that implies “Lord, I will do anything that you ask of me.”  The truth is, however, that within each of us there is a line of demarcation – a line that we will not cross.  It may reveal itself as a rationalization, such as “it doesn’t take all that,” or “the Lord would not really want me to do such and such.” 
 
That line could be revealed in a manner similar to the way the rich young man’s line was exposed:
Matt. 19:20-22 – 20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
 
Or, we may find ourselves in a situation similar to Peter’s, when his boast was put to the test:
Matt. 26:33-35 – 33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
Yet, when confronted, Peter sadly recognized that there was a line that he was not willing to cross:
Matt. 26:69-7469 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.
70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
 
It sounds nice to say “Jesus is Lord.”  Many times, we pronounce it almost as a badge of honor, signifying that “I am proud to be a Christian.”  But then, when we are tested, we are humbled when we must give Him a response to His inquiry:
Luke 6:46 – “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
The only answer we can give is the humbling truth that He has located within us that line of demarcation.  That line cannot be destroyed until it is revealed, and the only way it will be revealed is for us to be tested.  This is discipleship in action. 

We just wrapped up recording our first set of episodes for our radio program, Glimpses of the Kingdom, which will begin airing on Wednesday, October 9 at 5:30 p.m. ET.  It will air on Inspiration 1050 WGRI in Cincinnati.  Here is a link to the website: http://inspiration1050.com/

We are excited and thankful for the opportunity the Lord has presented to proclaim the gospel!  There is a cost associated with the program, so if you are led to assist in this effort, you may mail your contribution to the Ekklesia, PO Box 31192, Cincinnati, OH 45231.  Any contributions received in support of the radio program will be used solely for that effort.

 

Welcome to another edition of Glimpses of the Kingdom, a message designed to enlighten you about the kingdom of God and inspire you to press into the kingdom.  Yesterday, we looked at one Greek word for the word gospel.  Today, we will look at the second Greek word used for the word gospel.

The Greek word is euaggelion, and it means the following:

1) a reward for good tidings

2) good tidings

2a) the glad tidings of the kingdom of God soon to be set up, and subsequently also of Jesus the Messiah, the founder of this kingdom. After the death of Christ, the term comprises also the preaching of (concerning) Jesus Christ as having suffered death on the cross to procure eternal salvation for the men in the kingdom of God, but as restored to life and exalted to the right hand of God in heaven, thence to return in majesty to consummate the kingdom of God

2b) the glad tidings of salvation through Christ

2c) the proclamation of the grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ

2d) the gospel

2e) as the messianic rank of Jesus was proved by his words, his deeds, and his death, the narrative of the sayings, deeds, and death of Jesus Christ came to be called the gospel or glad tidings

 

Also, notice what is not included in the definitions: sin and hell.  The gospel is only GOOD NEWS.  It is a message that brings life, hope, and healing to the hearer.  The gospel tells us that what God promised, he brought to pass.  It tells us that the Lord Jesus is the Christ, because is the firstborn from the dead.  He Himself told us that if His body was destroyed, that He would raise it: John 2:19 – Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

This is the gospel that we desire to hear.  This is the gospel that must be shared in all the world:

Matt. 24:14 – And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Today, let’s look at the miracles the Lord Jesus performed in the book of John, and how they explain the kingdom of God.

 

John 2:1-10

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

This act symbolizes the inauguration of the kingdom of God. The water represents the Old Covenant, or God’s kingly rule under corrupt kings. The wine represents the New Covenant, or the spiritual kingdom. It is not merely coincidence that the Lord Jesus performs this miracle at a wedding, which is how His return is described – a Bridegroom returning for His bride. Notice too, that the story begins by stating that the wedding took place on the third day – the day which our Lord was raised from the dead.  The governor of the wedding observes that at this wedding, the best wine was saved for later. Normally, the best wine was used first. This new wine also represents the truth that the latter days will be better than the former days.

Welcome to this inaugural edition of Glimpses of the Kingdom, a message whose purpose is to enlighten you about the kingdom of God and inspire you to press into the kingdom.  Please feel free to share these messages with others, ask questions or comment on the message.

Today, we will look at what our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 5:17:

 Matthew 5:17 ( KJV ) Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

How did the Lord fulfill the law? The commands that God gave to Moses were a covenant.  A covenant is defined as an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified. A covenant requires action on behalf of both parties.  The two parties in this case were God and the nation of Israel.  God’s promise was to give the nation of Israel a kingdom.  Until that kingdom came, Israel’s responsibility was to keep the commands that God gave Moses.  When the Lord Jesus said that He did not come to destroy, but to fulfill, He was declaring that God kept his promise by delivering this kingdom in the form of the Lord Jesus.  This is the good news, or gospel, of the kingdom.  What God promised, he delivered.  This was the good news that was to be spread throughout Israel.  After much of Israel rejected this good news, God in his grace declared that this good news be taken to whosoever will believe and submit to this kingdom. This is the grace that God has bestowed upon us this day – that we are able to be citizens of his glorious kingdom because we not only believe that Jesus is Lord, but we submit to His rule in our hearts.

Have a blessed day!