Tag: forgiveness of sins

Witness instructions!

Scripture reading for July 31st: Luke 24, Psalm 1, Proverbs 27

Luke 24: 44-49 “Then He said to them, “These are My Words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their mind to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Your are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.””

The risen Jesus Christ met His disciples in their grief following His resurrection and encouraged them in many ways. He clarified His instructions to them by pointing them to the Scriptures of Israel and His fulfilment of all that was written of Him. He opened their minds to understand His suffering, death, and resurrection. His purpose was that they might preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in His Name to all nations and peoples. This would begin in Jerusalem. But they were not to go in haste, but to wait for the ‘Promise of the Father.’ The Holy Spirit would be poured out giving them power to be His witnesses! They would be empowered with His Spirit, understand His Word, and like Jesus, lay down their lives!

Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your wise counsel and Your Gift of the Holy Spirit to live in me and empower me to be the witness You desire. Thank You for understanding of Your Word and the privilege of sharing the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith In Jesus Christ and His selfless sacrifice for our sins. Through the Spirit, fill me with Your wisdom to reach each person You send me to.

Proverbs 27:11 “Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad that I may answer him who reproaches me.”

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Forgiveness of others not optional!

Scripture reading for April 13th: Matthew 6, Psalm 74, Proverbs 12

Matthew 6: 7-13 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, Your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will Your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Jesus continued to teach His disciples about how to live the blessed life of His kingdom, beginning now on earth and continuing forever. He was the Way to the Father and He taught His disciples how to approach the Father and seek Him for their daily needs, forgiveness of sins, and protection from their adversary, Satan and his schemes. He gave them a simple pattern of prayer, approaching God through a relationship of child to Father. It was a humble attitude of worship, dependence and faith in His kingdom, power and provision. He cautioned them about one possible trap, that of forgiving others. If they wanted their sins forgiven by God’s grace, they must give grace to those offending them. If this request from the merciful Father was ignored or refused, their own forgiveness could not happen!

Psalm 74:12-13 “Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. You divided the sea by Your might; You broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.”

Prayer: Father God, in heaven, You are Holy, Holy, Holy! I humbly acknowledge my need of daily bread, forgiveness of sins, and protection from the evil one and his schemes. You are my Father and King, working salvation among all the lost. Help me to demonstrate Your grace to others who have offended me. I want nothing to block Your mercy in my life and to keep me from the path of eternal life.

Proverbs 12:28 “In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.”

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Obeying God over men!

Scripture reading for April 20th:  1st Samuel 1-2, Psalm 120, Acts 5

Key Scriptures:  Acts 5:28-32 “”We strictly charged you not to teach in this Name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this Man’s blood upon us.”  But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.  The God of our fathers raised Jesus, Whom you killed by hanging Him on a tree.  God exalted Him at His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, Whom God has given to those who obey Him.””

The Pharisees charged the apostles not to teach in the Name of Jesus ever again.  The apostles explained that they must obey God first because He had charged them to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all men.  Peter respectfully explained how the religious authorities and the people of Israel had crucified Jesus and how God raised Him from the dead.  God also exalted Jesus the highest place of honor, His Right Hand!  Jesus alone can grant forgiveness of sins.  The apostles were witnesses as the Holy Spirit spoke through them.

Faith Confession and prayer:  Lord, thank You for the Name of Jesus and the instructions to preach the Gospel to all people everywhere.  Help me to obey You today through the Holy Spirit who lives in me.

1st Samuel 2:2  “”There is none holy like the Lord; for there is none besides You; there is no Rock like our God.”  

Psalm 120:1  “In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me.”  

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Tell of His wondrous works!

Scripture reading for November 29th:  Revelation 1, Psalm 105-106, Proverbs 23

Key Scriptures:  Revelation 1:4-7 “Grace to you and peace from Him Who is and  Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead and the Ruler of kings on earth.  To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.  Behold, He is coming with the clouds and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him.  Even so, Amen.”

The Apostle John was an old man who had been imprisoned on Patmos, a rocky island in the Mediterranean.   He was alone and in worship to God the Father and Jesus Christ, reciting praise for the mighty act of salvation wrought by Jesus Christ through the shedding of His blood.  He spoke prophetically or the coming of Jesus again on the clouds of heaven and how all on earth would see Him and mourn because they did not confess Him.

Faith Confession:   I worship the One who gave His blood for the forgiveness of my sins and the sins of the whole world.  He is coming again in power and glory on the clouds of heaven to receive His followers. To Him be glory now and forever and ever!

Psalm 105:1-2 “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His Name; make known His deeds among the people!  Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works!” 

 

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Freedom from fear!

Scripture reading for October 15th:  Isaiah 50-52, Hebrews 2

Key Scriptures:  Hebrews 2:14-15 “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, shared in our humanity by becoming a human being.  He identified with sinful humanity, but Himself was without sin.  He experienced death, the penalty for sin, on our behalf in order to destroy the devil and his power to hold mankind in the grip of death.  He set those in bondage to fear of death free forever!  Hallelujah!

Isaiah 51:12-13 “I, I am He who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, and the son of man who is made like grass, and have forgotten the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy?  And where is the wrath of the oppressor?”

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for sending Jesus Christ, to deliver me from fear of man and fear of death.  I am a free person because of You!  Amen.

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A God who Amazes!

Scripture reading for October 4th:  Nahum 1-3, Habakkuk 1

Key Scriptures:  Habakkuk 1:5  “”Look at the nations and watch–and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if your were told.  I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth. . . .”” 

Habakkuk had questions for God.  It appeared that God was allowing injustice in the land of His people.  It appeared that God was tolerating evil and wrong-doing.  But God answered him by telling him to look at what He planned to do:  use a wicked and ruthless nation to judge His people!  This was a hard concept to grasp.  A good and holy God who used even the wicked for His good purposes.  God’s people would have a hard time believing in God’s plans to save them too, when His Son Jesus Christ revealed the way of salvation!

God’s amazing salvation:  “”Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.  Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:  ‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, if if someone told you.'”  (Acts 13:38-41)

 

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Repent and be baptized!

Scripture reading for May 6th:  Acts 2

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 2:36-39  “”Therefore let all Israel be assured of this:  God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”    When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”  

Peter, on the day of Pentecost, stood up and preached a powerful message of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ.  He preached to those who were gathered there, many who had participated in the crucifixion of Jesus and remembered the events of that day and those following.  As he preached, the Holy Spirit brought conviction on the multitude and they cried out for instruction!  Peter clearly told them how to respond!  Repentance would mean turning from their old ways of rebellion and sin to Jesus Christ and asking Him to forgive them.  Upon receiving grace and cleansing, they were to be baptized in water–immersed–as an act of public witness of their inner cleansing by faith in Christ.  They would then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit–given by the Father to all who would believe!

Observations for over-comers:  Repentance is the first step of clearing the conviction of the conscience from the weight of guilt as the Holy Spirit deals with a heart.  King David gives us a great example of what that looks like in Psalm 51.  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”  (Psalm 51:1-2)

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Let us reason together!

Scripture reading for July 16th: Isaiah 1-4

The book of Isaiah is a rich resource of prophesy and New Testament truth.  Jesus Christ said of Isaiah that he “saw My glory and spoke about it.” (John 12:41)    Jesus began His ministry quoting from Isaiah 61:1-2 (Luke 4:18-19).   His book is considered by some to be a miniature of the Bible as a whole.  The first 39 chapters record Isaiah’s messages of judgment.  Like the New Testament, the last 27 chapters contain messages of hope!

In the first chapter Isaiah had a four-point sermon outline that went something like this:  (A)  Charges of sins,  (B)  Threats of coming judgment, (C)  Call to repent,  and  (D),  Promises of restoration if they repented.

Isaiah’s charges against Judah and warnings of judgment could apply to us in the American church today!  The people of Judah were delivered  from bondage by God himself, but they willfully forgot God.  They had turned their backs on God and rebelled against their own Maker!  (Isaiah 1:2-9)  The consequences were physical afflictions, a land under a drought, and cities burned with fire through war!  God likened them to Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities He had destroyed by fire because of their gross wickedness.

God was fed up with their hollow religious meetings and meaningless offerings.  He hated their festivals and was burdened by their shows with no substance.  He promised to hide his face from them and would not respond to their prayers.  (Isaiah 1:10-15)

God called them to repent while there was still time.  Their hands were full of blood and needed washing.     God was concerned  with the needy and weak who were being exploited.  (Isaiah 1:16-17)  He tried to reason with them about the stain of their sins.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. . .” (Isaiah 1:18)  This may be a strong warning that their sin, like leprosy, was quickly taking them towards death.  Leprosy turns the skin white and it loses all feeling.  Their king, Uzziah, had died of leprosy because of pride and rebellion. (2nd Chronicles 26:16-21)

The fourth point of God’s message promised that if they were willing and obedient, they would eat the best of the land, but if they refused and rebelled against His advice they would be devoured by the sword.  The choice we make determines the consequences and future reward or judgment!  If we listen closely, God’s reasoning is easy to follow!

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Peter and the Gentile Pentecost!

Scripture reading for June 16th:  Acts 10:24-48

Peter got out of his comfort zone, and went with the men to the house of Cornelius.  He found a large crowd of people awaiting his arrival and explained to them how God had helped him overcome his religious fear of becoming unclean in the house of a Gentile.   (Acts 10:27-28)

Peter asked Cornelius why he had sent for him. Cornelius told Peter and the crowd about the vision he had and instructions to send for Peter.  “Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” (Acts 10:33b)  This invitation opened the door wide for Peter to preach the full Gospel message!

After telling the people that God accepts people of all nations who fear God, Peter preached Jesus Christ. “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.  You know what happened through out Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached–how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him. (Acts 10:34-38)   He then told them about the crucifixion and resurrection on the third day and Jesus’ command for the disciples to preach that Jesus is the judge of the living and dead.  Peter told about forgiveness of sins for all who would believe in Jesus’ name.

As Peter was preaching, the Holy Spirit came on all who were listening.  Peter and his Jewish Christian companions who had been baptized in the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost now heard these Gentiles also speaking in other tongues and praising God!  God was no respecter of persons or nationalities!  Peter ordered them baptized in water and stayed to instruct them.

Have you experienced Pentecost?  Don’t just read about it and think it was nice for them!  It is for today!  “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–fr all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)

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Out of the Depths, I Cry!

Scripture reading for June 30th: Psalms 128-134

When journeying to the House of the Lord, one begins to think about the need to have mercy for our sins.  We are all sinners and are aware that we have broken God’s laws.  Those laws are initially written on our conscience.  For Israel, they were written on tablets of stone and then written into the Law of God as received by Moses.  Breaking of those commandments brought the need for God’s mercy and forgiveness.  A sacrifice of blood must be presented by one of the priests.  God must accept the sacrifice and forgive the one who offended Him and broke His law.

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice.  Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.  If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared.” (Psalms 130:1-4)  As the psalmist travels onward toward the temple,  he begins to call out to God for mercy.  He knows his need of forgiveness and mercy and asks unashamedly in faith.  He also acknowledges that none could stand if God kept a record.  We know that He does keep good records!  (Revelation 20:11-12)

The psalmist waited in anticipation for the Lord.  The waiting was one of eager expectation of God’s mercy and comforting presence.  “O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.  He Himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” (Psalm 130:7-8)

Like the psalmist in this psalm,  we anticipate the second coming of Jesus Christ and know that our sins are forgiven and that we have a glorious future in His presence.  This blessed hope causes us to cleanse our lives from all sins and live in the same holy expectation.  (Titus 2:11-14)  Like the watchman waiting for the morning, we wait for the trumpet to sound and Jesus Christ to return.  His unfailing love is better than life and full redemption includes a glorified body and unspeakable joy with Him forever!   He will redeem Israel from all her sins as well as they trust in Him!   Praise the Lord!

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