Sunday, September 19, 2010

WHAT Will You Do About JESUS?

We are all born to die -- it's guaranteed fact. It's not an IF, but a WHEN.

JESUS came down from the heavenlies -- born to die as sin-bearing GOD-Man. It's historical fact that He existed and died on the Cross. Whether or not we believe that He is GOD Who died for our sins will decide our personal destiny -- for EVERY soul is resurrected to everlasting life: to Hell or to Heaven. (John 5:28-29)

When we are asked, "Do you know JESUS CHRIST?" -- do we really know the FACTs about Him?

JESUS alone fulfilled
365 messianic prophecies.

JESUS alone performed countless miracles -- SUPERnatural acts only GOD can do -- for the whole three years of His earthly ministry. (John 21:25)

JESUS appeared in bodily form to His disciples and to over 500 others after He rose from the tomb. (1 Corinthians 15:6)

If a court of law were to judge JESUS' veracity, His credentials as noted above would far exceed the needed evidence to validate His claim -- He is GOD incarnate... the Great I AM... Sovereign LORD!

From His own mouth, JESUS said:

"No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven." (John 3:13)

The (Samaritan) woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called CHRIST). "When He comes, He will tell us all things." "I who speak to you AM He." (John 4:25-26)

"My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." Therefore the Jews (the religious leaders) sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that GOD was His Father, making Himself equal with GOD. (John 5:17-18)

"For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will." (John 5:21)

"But I have a greater witness than John's (the Baptist); for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. (John 5:36)




"You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me." (
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, Job, Psalms 2, 22, 23, 24, 27, 30, 31, 34, 35, 38, 40, 41, 45, 49, 55, 68, 69, 72, 78, 89, 90, 91, 97, 100, 102, 109, 110, 112, 118, 132, 138, 147, Proverbs 8, Song of Solomon, Isaiah 2, 25:8, 26, 28:16, 29, 32, 33, 35, 40, 42, 43, 44, 45, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 55, 59, 60-63, 65, 66, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Micah, Haggai, Amos, Habakkuk, Zechariah, Malachi.)

"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19) Speaking of His BODY as a temple, JESUS prophesied His own death and resurrection.

"He who has seen Me has seen the Father..." (John 14:9)

"No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)




"I AM the Bread of Life." (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51)
"I AM the Light of the world." (John 8:12)
"I AM the Door of the sheep." (John 10:7, 9)
"I AM the Good Shepherd." (John 10:11, 14)
"I AM the Resurrection and the Life." (John 11:25)
"I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life." (John 14:6)
"I AM the true Vine." (John 15:1, 5)




After JESUS' resurrection -- He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My LORD and my GOD!" "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:27-29)

In the Gospel according to John, it is written: And there are also many other things that JESUS did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (John 21:25)

JESUS' ministry lasted three years -- He fulfilled over 300 Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah and performed countless miracles of healing (the blind, sick, lame, demon-possessed); feeding thousands; forgiving many; raising the dead.

Although John documented only seven miracles to represent the countless many that he saw JESUS perform, these seven supernatural signs give infallible proof of the deity of JESUS as GOD the Son and Messiah. 
John MacArthur of Grace to You, explains John's written account of these seven particular miracles of JESUS that point to His deity (John MacArthur's Study Bible, p 1579):


"Turns water into wine -- JESUS is the Source of life. (John 2:1-12)
Heals a nobleman's son -- JESUS is master over distance. (John 4:46-54)
Heals a lame man at the pool of Bethesda -- JESUS is master over time. (John 5:1-17)
Feeds 5,000 -- JESUS is the Bread of life. (John 6:1-14)
Walks on water, stills a storm -- JESUS is master over nature. (John 6:15-21)
Heals a man blind from birth -- JESUS is the Light of the world. (John 9:1-41)
Raises Lazarus from the dead -- JESUS has power over death. (John 11:17-45)"


Only JESUS has defeated death -- His resurrection is a fact. Only JESUS has fulfilled the prophecies of the coming Messiah. Only JESUS has claimed and proven that He is I AM.

Those who praise Him as the greatest teacher who ever lived, or as a prophet sent from GOD, or as a holy one are on the side of error, for that would make JESUS a liar... the greatest liar who ever lived. And the apostles, the
martyred disciples, the church -- all liars... or lunatics.

JESUS claimed to be GOD. Is He a
liar, lunatic or LORD?

The verdict came in 2,000 years ago -- the overwhelming evidence of fulfilled prophecies and countless miracles attest to it. JESUS is The Holy One. He is the Messiah. CHRIST JESUS is GOD.

But JESUS is not the one on trial -- WE are. When we are presented with the Gospel of Peace, the truth about CHRIST JESUS, we must respond. Our very lives depend on our response.



WHAT will you DO about JESUS?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

DEATH of self -- COUNT the COST

All things i can do through CHRIST Who strengthens me.

FACTS:

The persecution of Christians is religious persecution that CHRISTians sometimes undergo as a consequence of professing their faith, both historically and in the current era. In the two thousand years of the CHRISTian faith, about 70 million believers have been killed for their faith, of whom 45.5 million or 65% were in the twentieth century according to "The New Persecuted" ("I Nuovi Perseguitati"). 200 million CHRISTians are persecuted in the world, especially in Arabia and parts of Asia. (You will be hated by all nations for My name's sake...many will be offended. Matthew 24:9-10a)

Christian Solidarity International. Global reports indicate that over 150,000 CHRISTians were martyred last year, chiefly outside of the United States.

More CHRISTians are in prison or under detention in China than in any other country. House churches (unregistered churches), which make up approximately 90 percent of China’s CHRISTians, endure unimaginable persecution. But they stand by their commitment to preach the gospel, no matter the cost. In Tibet, most of the persecution against CHRISTians comes from militant Tibetan Buddhists.

North Korea is the worst perpetrator of persecution against CHRISTians in the world. CHRISTians must practice their faith in deep secrecy and are in constant danger, but many continue to stand strong under relentless persecution. The government considers CHRISTians to be a stability threat, and they are hunted all over the country. Being a CHRISTian carries a more severe punishment than espionage.

The largest number of CHRISTian worshipers in North Korea exists in concentration camps. In addition, one out of four CHRISTian prisoners are sent to political prison camps where prisoners almost never leave. Experts estimate that of the 200,000 people incarcerated in political prison camps, at least 40,000 are CHRISTians.

Many North Korean CHRISTians have fled to China, where there are an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 North Koreans. The Chinese government offers a bounty for North Korean refugees equal to one year’s salary. When refugees are caught, they are returned to North Korea, where they face torture, imprisonment and often death. This year the UN’s Human Rights Council passed a resolution expressing concern at “ongoing grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations” in North Korea.

Despite this horrific oppression, some CHRISTians have returned to North Korea to share the Gospel. As many as 100,000 are thought to worship secretly. In 2009, the authorities are said to have stepped up their surveillance of CHRISTians, and house searches are said to be more rigorous than in the past. Across North Korea, CHRISTians continue to pray privately for evangelism and unity.

Saudi Arabia is the second most repressive nation in the world for CHRISTians. Converts from Islam to CHRISTianity are rare in this nation. Barriers to spreading the Gospel are intense. Leaving Islam is punishable by death. Anyone who does mission work or converts a Muslim faces jail, expulsion, lashing, torture or execution. Public non-Muslim worship, even for foreign CHRISTians, is prohibited. CHRISTians are regularly imprisoned or deported, and CHRISTian churches are banned.

In Sudan, thirty years of persecution has not stopped the growth of the Sudanese church. Most expatriate missionaries have left, but national leaders remain committed to evangelism. Life continues to be difficult as the country struggles for stability, but pastors are begging for Bibles and CHRISTian training items rather than material aid. Today the great needs in southern Sudan are to build up the faith of new CHRISTians, to help young and old recover from traumatic experiences and to provide a strong CHRISTian foundation for believers.

TESTIMONIES:
When teenager Cassie Bernall left home for another day of classes at Columbine High School, she had no idea that she wouldn’t be coming home. Later that day, when an armed schoolmate asked if she believed in GOD, this recently redeemed girl said, “Yes”. That one word, a testament and defense of her faith in the face of grave danger, was the last word that Cassie spoke before being shot to death.

The young brown-eyed girl looked up at her mother. What would she decide? Earlier that morning, the young girl's mother, their pastor, and twenty-six others in her North Korean village of GokSan were bound and taken before a screaming crowd of Communists. One of the guards ordered Pastor Kim and the other CHRISTians, "Deny CHRIST, or you will die." The words chilled her. How could they ask her to deny JESUS? She knew in her heart He was real. They all quietly refused.

Then the Communist guard shouted directly at the adult CHRISTians, "Deny CHRIST, or we will hang your children." The young girl looked up at her mother. She gripped her and knowing how much her mom loved her. Her mother then leaned down. With confidence and peace she whispered, "Today, my love, I will see you in heaven."

All of the children were hanged.

The remaining believers were then brought out onto the pavement and forced to lie down in front of a huge steamroller. The Communists gave them one last chance. "Deny this JESUS or you will be crushed." The CHRISTians had already given up their children; there was no turning back. As the driver started the heavy piece of equipment, the singing from the villagers started softly...

"More love, O CHRIST to Thee, more love to Thee."

The man who was born blind whom JESUS healed was cast out -- unsynagogued -- by the Pharisees (the rulers of traditional Jewish laws). Because the man who was given sight by JESUS believed and worshipped Him as LORD, he was reviled by the Pharisees and no longer permitted to worship in the synagogue or have any part in that society's traditional lifestyle. (John 9, John MacArthur sermon)

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented... (Hebrews 11:35-37)

Foxe's Book of Martyrs documents the persecution of CHRISTians from the time of the Apostles up to 1819. Many were crucified...many were burned at the stake.

Richard Wurmbrand, the youngest of four boys in a Jewish family, was imprisoned and tortured for 14 years for preaching the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST. Today, The Voice of Martyrs, which he founded in 1967, continues to make people (especially those of the Western countries) aware of the continued persecution of CHRISTians worldwide.

The point of this post is found in Luke 14:28 -- "...don't begin until you count the cost."

GOD the Son fully knew the cost He would pay to be propitiation for our sins. He, through Whom all things were made, Who was in the beginning with GOD the Father, Who is Light and Truth manifest, became lowly flesh, yet remained sinless and perfect. (John 1:1-3)

CHRIST JESUS paid for ALL our sin-debts. He was scourged that we may be healed. He wore the crown of thorns that we may also be glorified with Him in Heaven. He shed His blood so that we may be covered in His righteousness. He experienced the Father's indescribable wrath against sin poured out onto Him so that we may have peace with our Creator. JESUS died a horrific crucifixion that we may live eternally with Him.


CHRIST gave ALL that we may be made new creatures, born again, adopted into the family of the One True Living GOD.

Isn't it reasonable then that we also give our ALL as CHRIST JESUS gave His ALL? All over the world, then and now, followers of CHRIST have been persecuted for their faith in JESUS as the CHRIST, as Savior of the world and the only path to peace with GOD.

Yet, better to count the cost than to start and not finish. (Luke 14:28-32)

JESUS said, "If you want to be My follower you must love Me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be My disciple. And you cannot be My disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow Me... no one can become My disciple without giving up everything for Me." (Luke 14:26, 27, 33)

Count the cost -- before you commit to JESUS as the Pearl of great price, selling everything you have so you may have the Most Precious One (Matthew 13:46); before you acknowledge that He is your Good Shepherd and that you are mere nearsighted sheep (John 10); before you accept Him as your Passover Lamb so that the Angel of Death -- the Destroyer -- may pass over your sinful soul (Exodus 12:13, 23).

Count the cost -- deny your self...even to the death -- for CHRIST alone is worthy of your all.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

FAITH TEST: 14 KARAT or FOOL's Gold?

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from GOD... This is how you can recognize the SPIRIT of GOD: Every spirit that acknowledges that JESUS CHRIST has come in the flesh is from GOD, but every spirit that does not acknowledge JESUS is not from GOD. (I John 4:1, 2, 3)

Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? ...faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 1:16, 22; 2:14, 17-18, 26)

The man who says, "I know GOD," but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys His Word, GOD's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as JESUS did. (I John 2:4-6)

Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that JESUS is the CHRIST. Such a man is an anti-CHRIST who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:22-23)

No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him. He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. No one who is born of GOD will continue to sin, because GOD's Seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of GOD. (1 John 3:6, 7, 9).

This is how we know who the children of GOD are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of GOD; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. This is how we know what love is: JESUS CHRIST laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers...let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:10, 16, 18)

And this is GOD's command: to believe in the name of His Son, JESUS CHRIST, and to love one another as He commanded us. Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the SPIRIT He gave us. (1 John 3:23-24)

Anyone who believes in the Son of GOD has this testimony in his heart...And this is the testimony: GOD has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of GOD does not have life. (1 John 5:10, 11, 12)

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of GOD so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves... (2 Corinthians 13:5)

The Character of GENUINE SAVING FAITH (John MacArthur's Study Bible)

I. EVIDENCES that NEITHER PROVE NOR DISPROVE ONE'S FAITH

A. Visible morality
B. Intellectual knowledge
C. Religious involvement
D. Active ministry
E. Conviction of sin

F. Assurance
G. Time of decision

II. The FRUIT/PROOFS of AUTHENTIC/TRUE CHRISTIANITY

A. Love for GOD
B. Repentance from sin
C. Genuine humility
D. Devotion to GOD's glory
E. Continual prayer
F. Selfless love
G. Separation from the world
H. Spiritual growth
I. Obedient living
J. Hunger for GOD's Word
K. Transformation of life
If LIST I is true of a person and List II is false, there is cause to question the validity of one's profession of faith. Yet if LIST II is true, then the top list will be also.
(John MacArthur)

Therefore, if anyone is in CHRIST, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The one truly born of GOD is characterized by FAITH, LOVE, OBEDIENCE. Not that the follower of CHRIST has been perfected in the flesh -- body, mind, will, emotions -- (for sanctification is a lifetime process), but that his new nature has a different bent : a bent towards righteousness and holiness. He no longer sins habitually or persistently. He is not sinless, but he sins less.

And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. (2 Corinthians 13:6)