Monday, May 29, 2017

How Would You Answer, What Would You Say?

When that time comes and you sense that inner voice that says, “This night your soul will be required of you,” suddenly you find that you are standing before Almighty God, and He says to you, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” What would you say? How would you answer?

First you might consider this before dismissing these very pressing questions; 
The fool says in his heart, there is no God (Ps 14:1 & 53:1)

Knowing in your heart that you are no fool you might respond by saying, “I have been a good person and tried to keep your commandments and have not broken any civil laws that I know of, I have paid my taxes, have given to the needy and have done right by my community. I have always been loyal and loving to my spouse, have loved and cared well for my children!” 

These attributes are commendable but an individual’s own righteousness is insufficient and falls short of the criteria set by the Creator. Even the most casual student of the bible must eventually realize that the ten commandments which God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai was but a yardstick whereby mankind can measure their own failures before a righteous and perfect God. The following verses bring into focus and clarify the problem we are facing.

“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.” (Proverbs 16:2)
(Speaking of God) “You who art of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look on wrong.” (Habakkuk 1:13)
(Speaking to us) “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) 
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (James 2:10) 
The Apostle Paul points out;“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

The Lord is a loving and merciful Creator, but He is just and righteous and has vowed to punish sin. The word “Sin” simply refers to falling short, a failure to meet absolute perfection.

Some might say, “I am a member of a certain church, synagog or denomination, I tithe a portion of my income and support good works. But this is not the criteria that God has set before us. We have to understand that there is no way that mankind can reach up or elevate themselves to a standing that would be acceptable to God. Suppose that you made your best friend a three egg omelet but one of the eggs was bad, when you served it to him would it be acceptable? So it is with our lives, we cannot serve up the good things to God that we have done long with the bad, because it fouls that which is good and is unacceptable just as the bad egg ruined the omelet.
God had different plan and it was very simple as it says here; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)

This has been God’s plan even before the foundation of the world, that mankind would know both good and evil even as He does, but those He would save would choose good over evil. The prophet Isaiah spoke of it long before the advent of Christ when he said; “Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53: 1-6)

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 )

But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, (Acts 3: 18-20)

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Faith is more than just hearing and giving mental assent, faith requires action as a response, here is an excellent example of faith; During the winter of 1858, the 34-year-old French acrobat named Jean Fran├žois Gravelet, better known as Monsieur Charles Blondin, traveled to Niagara Falls hoping to become the first person to make the crossing on a tightrope. He drew an enormous crowd and he said, “Do you believe that I can make the 1300 foot crossing over the falls on this tightrope?” The crowd roared saying, “Yes you can we believe in you!” Then Blondin said, “Do you think I can do the crossing with a man on my back?” The crowd responded once again saying, “Yes, we know you can do it!” Then Blondin said, who will trust me enough to get on my back for the crossing?” The remainder of the story is a perfect example of faith and how it works between the Savior and those who trust in his salvation. Blondin successfully made the crossing, appearing on the Canadian end of the rope with his manager Harry Colcord clinging to his back. Blondin gave Mr. Colcord the following instructions: “Look up, Harry, you are no longer Colcord, you are Blondin. Until I clear this place you become a part of me, mind, body, and soul. If I sway, you sway with me. Do not attempt to do any balancing yourself, trust me lest you fall to your death.” 

Today is the day of your salvation if you by faith will acknowledge and trust in Him, repent of your shortcomings and ask Jesus to come into your heart.

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.”   
(1 Thessalonians 5:9-10) 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Persecution By Antichrist

Down through the ages Christians have wondered, who will be the dreaded Antichrist? The question should be not who, but what is the Antichrist?  In a previous commentary posted 11/15/2015 entitled "Satanic Religion" we discussed the attributes of Islam, a death cult belief system consuming adherents with envy and hatred of Jews and Christians. In a later posting on 11/5/2015 entitled "Daniel's Prophecies And ISIS" we looked at ISIS and it's activities in the Mid-East close to the Israeli border and how it appears to be the second half of a bible prophecy in the works. And again on 1/23/2016 in a commentary entitled "Western Civilization Under Siege" we note how the gates of hell have been opened on Europe and the West as hundreds of thousands of angry displaced Moslems have been unleashed and are flooding across the European continent, many of whom are Jihadist terrorists intent on supplanting Western Civilization by the establishment of a world dominating Islamic Caliphate committed to the obliteration of Judaism and Christianity from the face of the earth.

We are thankful for permission to post this film which is not intended as an endorsement of Joshuastone-whatis by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Please watch it with an open mind and heart.