Lawlessness

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.”  “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” –Matthew 24:3-14 ESV

The gospel message is foundational for the Christian.  A good foundation becomes ever more important as you build on it.  In construction, a strong foundation is essential to support the heavy loads from the weight of the building along with internal and external forces. (i.e. occupants, storage, earthquake, snow and wind loading etc.)  Isn’t a strong foundation even more important when it relates to eternity?

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  But not all the Israelites accepted the good news.  For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”  Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. –Romans 10:13-17

If the law is not preached how will men become aware of their sins?1  If men are unaware of their sins, does the gospel have any relevance?2  Once a man becomes a believer does the relevance of the gospel increase or decrease?3  Isn’t it the work of the Holy Spirit to convict us so that we are aware of our need to be cleansed from unrighteousness?4  How do we present ourselves to be cleansed if not through confession?5  Doesn’t the relevance of the gospel grow as our awareness of sin grows, and conversely doesn’t our awareness of sin increase as the gospel comes to fruition in our life?6  Since we are being conformed to the likeness of God7 and since God is love8 9 can we not conclude that we are being conformed to the likeness of love?10 11  If we are not being conformed unto the likeness of love, have we anything of value?12  How do we experience love in the most relevant way if not through the forgiveness of sins?13 14 15  Since the wages of sin is death16 wouldn’t it be natural to love knowing that I’m a sinner saved from death.17  18

My Prayer: Lord, I see lawlessness growing in the world, please let my life reflect the fullness of your gospel message: in my words, in my actions, and in my prayers.  Worldly hostility is growing toward those who speak out against sin; please let me never side with the world against you, let me grown daily in agreement with you regarding sin.  Knowing that light shines brightest in the midst of darkness, let my life shine brightly for you and my life be a testimony of your mercy and grace.  Let my heart overflow love because you first loved me! Amen.

Forgiveness, Mercy and Grace – 3

Click here for part 1

Remember, God does not forgive us because we are worthy; he forgives us because of who he is.

God gives us what we need to lighten the load, the enemy gives us things to weigh us down.  Condemnation crushs us under the weight of sin.  Conviction is God simply asking if we want to agree with him so he can shoulder the burden.

My Confession: Because I love my sin, I find myself going down this road over and over, seemingly without change however, in faith, I trust that God is working.

I developed a love of my sin over time, perhaps it may take time to develop a hatred for that same sin.

Hatred for sin comes through continued agreement with God by confessing my sin every time I partake of it.

For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.  So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.  Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.19

Revelation: That’s it!  The reason I struggle is because the sin in my life is becoming utterly sinful –my love for sin is but to death by agreeing with God.  Yes, I’m a sinner.  No, I don’t deserve mercy.  Yes, I need a savior.

My Prayers: Lord, thank you for dying on the cross in my place.  Please forgive me; please give me a hatred for sin.  Thank you for having mercy on me.  Change my heart, my thoughts, and my ways.2  Transform me into your likeness.3

Lord, I have struggled so long, this seems impossible, please give me the faith to believe again, with my lips I can say, “I do believe”, but my words ring hollow; please help me overcome my unbelief.4

My word for today is that what may be impossible for me is not impossible for you God!5  6  7  Please open my eyes that I can see you at work and be encouraged.8

 

Count it all Joy

“Fits of anger generate an illusion that we are strong, simply because it feels like strength; it’s not, it’s actually a terrible weakness.” – David Kupelian, How Evil Works (Paraphrased)

Anytime we ally with the enemy we’re partnering with weakness; how different life would be if we could recognize such a truth.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be complete, lacking in nothing. 9

 

Points to ponder:

  • Is temptation not a trial?
  • Not succumbing to temptation, is that not a test of our faith?
  • If we do fail, does repentance not also test our faith?
  • At the moment of conviction, are we not positioned to be set free from the bondage of the enemy through confession and agreement with God?2
  • Is not faith required for us to come boldly into the presence of God?3
  • Is it possible that no matter the outcome, if we remain in relationship with God, we are on the road to steadfastness?4
  • Can we have a greater hope; is this not the hope of the gospel?5

My Prayer:  Thank you God for loving us unconditionally.  Thank you for providing us the way back to unbroken relationship with you.  Thank you for the grace to respond to your calling.  We are so richly blessed by you!  Amen.