A NEW YOU IN 2016

The living God of heaven and earth wants to bless you in 2016!  In John 10:10 (NKJV) the Lord Jesus tells us: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  You must remember that your life must be lived according to God’s standards, not man’s.  Our great God’s economy functions differently than does man’s economy.  Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV): “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  You cannot live the way you want, claim to be a Christian, and expect God to bless you.  Ted Koppel of ABC News Nightline fame stated many years ago: “The Ten Commandments are not the ten suggestions.”

The first way to be a new you in 2016 is to be in Christ.  The Apostle Paul states in 2 Cor. 5:17 (NKJV): “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  When you are in Christ, you are first and foremost born again.  In John 3:3 (NKJV) Jesus states: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Have you been born again?  Do you know without a shadow of a doubt that you will go to heaven when you die?  A person who is born again is one who has accepted the death of Jesus on the CROSS for their sins.  They repent of their sins and make Christ their personal Lord and Savior by faith.

JESUS shed His pure, sinless blood on the CROSS for you and me.  He died, but on the third day, He arose from the grave victorious.  You can’t be a new you if you’re not clean inside and out.  Being washed in the blood of Jesus is the only way to really be clean inside and out.  Salvation secures your home in heaven eternally, and guarantees you an abundant life in this life.

You can make all of the resolutions you desire in 2016 to change yourself, but the way to begin is to be born again.  Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5:17 that old things are passed away and all things have become new. You can’t change your outward appearance only and be totally new.  You have to be changed from the inside out.  It is called regeneration.  In Matt. 9:17, Jesus tells us that men do not put new wine into old wineskins, because the wineskins burst, the wine pours out, and the wineskins are ruined.  You put new wine into new wineskins and both are preserved.  You cannot combine the old with the new.

When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had Uriah, her husband, killed, he cried out to God in Psalm 51:2,7 (NKJV): “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be whiter than snow.”  To be a new you in 2016 you must be in Christ.  Are you in Christ?

 

Timing

Someone once said: “Timing is everything.”  In our great God’s economy He has all the time in the world!  He lives in eternity where time never ends.

The living God of heaven and earth controls each clock in the world system.  “Daniel answered and said: ‘Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His.  And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.  He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness; And light dwells with him’”  (Daniel 2:20-22 NKJV).

Our great God turned back the sun in 2 Kings 20:11(NKJV): “So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the Lord, and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz.”  He stopped the sun in Joshua 10:12-14 (NKJV): “Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: ‘Sun stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.’   So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies.  Is this not written in the Book of Jasher?  So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.  And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.”  The ONE who can turn back the sun and stop the sun can certainly control time!

Almighty God gave Solomon the mind to say this about time in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NKJV):  “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.”

JESUS  was born at the right time (Luke 2:7).  JESUS died on the CROSS for our sins at the right time (Luke 23:46).   JESUS was resurrected from the grave at the right time (Mark 16:9).

One day soon time, as we now know it, will end.  JESUS will return and everyone who has been born again will live forever in heaven with Him (Matthew 25:31-46).  The song says:  “When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time will be no more.  And the morning breaks eternal bright and fair.  Then the saved of earth will gather to their home beyond the sky.  When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.”  Will you be in heaven when time ends for you in this temporary life?  If not, I plead with you to call on the name of the Lord Jesus to save you today.  “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13 NKJV).

Why The Cry From The Cross (Part 8)?

The seventh cry of Jesus from the Cross is found in Luke 23:46 (NKJV) “And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’  Having said this, He breathed His last.”  Jesus voluntarily gave up His spirit.  Normally, when people died from crucifixion they would wither away slowly.  Not our Jesus.  He gave up His spirit when he was ready to give it up.  He died at the moment He chose to die.  Jesus was fully conscious until He said: “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”

The Bible tells us that the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom when Jesus died.  God sent an earthquake, graves were opened after His resurrection, and many saints went into Jerusalem and appeared to many people.  The veil in the temple separated the holy of holies from the rest of the temple.  Only the High Priest could go into the holy of holies and approach God by offering a blood sacrifice for the sins of the people.  Only God could tear this curtain from top to bottom.  No man was big enough to do it.  God showed the world that the way of access into His presence was now available to everyone.  In other words, we can pray directly to God.  We do not have to confess to the pope or the priest.  We have a direct line to the throne room of the living God!

You can come to Jesus just as you are.  Hebrews 10:19-22 (NKJV) states: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” 

Yes, JESUS died on that old rugged CROSS.  Yes, JESUS was buried in a borrowed tomb for three days.  Yes, JESUS arose from that grave!  This very hour, JESUS is seated at the right hand of His Heavenly Father making intercession for us as we pray.  One day very soon He is coming back to take us to heaven with Him and we will be there forever!  Glory!

 

Why The Cry From The Cross (Part 7)?

The sixth cry of Jesus from the Cross is found in John 19:30 (NKJV): “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”  Jesus spoke the Greek word from the Cross, Tetelestai, which means, “it is finished.”  The redemptive work that God had sent Him to do was finished, complete.  Our sin debt was paid in full.

No one made Jesus do it.  He had full control over the giving of His life.  In John 10:17-18 (NKJV) Jesus said: “Therefore My Father loves me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from me, But I lay it down of Myself, I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This command I have received from My Father.”

Jesus suffered for you and me.  He didn’t have to do it.  He chose to do it!  The world has never been the same.  All of creation and all of mankind was affected by the crucifixion.  Tetelestai: “It is finished.” I want to live my life for JESUS because He willingly gave His life for me!

Why The Cry From The Cross (Part 6)?

The fifth cry of Jesus from the Cross is found in John 19:28 (NKJV) “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’”  We see the humanity of Jesus. He was thirsty.  He was 100% God and 100% man.  Jesus is the water of life, yet He died thirsty for a drink of water.  They gave Him vinegar, a sour cheap wine.  Psalm 69:21 (NKJV) was fulfilled.  “They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

In John 7:37-38 (NKJV) Jesus said:  “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  Why is it that God would let the living water die thirsty?  God had to let Jesus experience all that we experience so that Jesus could identify with us when we hurt.  The kind of spiritual water that flows from Jesus will never run dry.  What did Jesus tell the woman at the well?  John 4:13-14 (NKJV):  “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

David, the man after God’s heart, said:  “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2 NKJV).  Jesus said from the Cross: “I thirst.”  Your “spiritual thirst” can only be quenched by the Lord Jesus!  Call on His holy name today and He will become your Lord and Savior and give you a “spiritual drink” that will quench your thirst for all of eternity.  I love you!

Why The Cry From The Cross (Part 5)?

The fourth cry of Jesus from the Cross is found in Matthew 27:46 (KJV): “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani?’ That is to say, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’”  For one brief moment in time God turned His back on Jesus when He took upon Himself the weight of the sins of the world, thus becoming sin on our behalf.

Isaiah 53:10 tells us that it pleased God to crush Jesus.  God made Jesus’ soul an offering for our sin.  Why did God do this to His only begotten Son, Jesus?  The eyes of God are too pure to even look at evil. He cannot look at sin favorably because He is holy and perfect. Habakkuk 1:13 states: “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?”

Isaiah 53:5 tells us that: “Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him: and with His stripes we are healed.” God provided a way for us to get to Him through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross, and in so doing He had to turn His back on Jesus for one brief moment in time.

God loves you so much that He let Jesus become what He hates: sin, so that you can become what God loves: righteousness. 2 Cor. 5:21 states: “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

Why the Cry from the Cross?  The Cross is proof that God loves us and that He longs to save us.  Jesus died for liars, homosexuals, adulterers, wife beaters, bigots, racists, murderers, sexual perverts, and all who reject His precious name.  No one else could do it!  Praise His Holy name!

 

Why The Cry From The Cross (Part 4)?

The third cry of our Lord from the Cross is found in John 19:26:  “Woman, behold thy Son!”  Jesus looked down from the cross and saw the anguish and sorrow of His precious mother, Mary.  That great woman blessed of God was weeping as she saw her Son, Jesus, hanging naked on the Cross.

The words of Simeon echoed through the recesses of Mary’s memory.  When Jesus was just a baby, Simeon told Mary and Joseph that Jesus would be appointed for the rise and fall of many in Israel.  He told them that a sword would pierce their own soul, meaning that their hearts would be broken in anguish.  A mother’s love for her child is only second to the great love that Jesus has for us.

Those of you who have given children up to death know the depth of pain in your anguished soul.  You know how Mary felt when her Son became her Savior.  Jesus, in his own physical and spiritual torment, reached out to his mother from the Cross: “Woman, behold thy Son.”

Proverbs 31:30 states:  “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”  Do you know without a doubt that Jesus is your Savior? Pray and ask Him to forgive your sins and be your Lord and Savior.

WHY THE CRY FROM THE CROSS (Part 3)?

The second cry Jesus gave from the CROSS is found in Luke 23:43 (KJV). “Verily I say unto thee, today thou shalt be with me in paradise.” The thief who was hanging on the CROSS beside Jesus was touched by his life.  He saw how Jesus loved people who hated him.  He became a believer as he hung dying beside the Lord Jesus.  Can’t you just hear him saying to Jesus? “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Isaiah 52:14 tells us that the face of Jesus was so mutilated that you could barely tell that He was a human. This crucified Jesus, this spat upon Jesus, this ridiculed Jesus, this dying Jesus, looked over at the thief and said: “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” The Greek word for paradise is paradeisos.  It is a picture of heaven, the place where God’s presence and glory are fully manifested and experienced.

No act of love in the world can equal the love of the Lord Jesus.  In John 13:34-35 (KJV) Jesus said: “A new commandment I give unto you; that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  Jesus also said: “Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13 (KJV).  And then He let them crucify Him for our sins.

Words cannot describe the glory, majesty, and splendor of Jesus’ home, heaven. The streets are gold.  The gates are pearl. The walls are jasper.  No night in heaven, because the power of God and Jesus are so strong that they literally light up this beautiful city.  No one will be sad or sick.  No one will be crippled.  No one will die. Everything and everybody will be perfect!  We will have peace forever! That is where the thief is right now, heaven.

Only one class of people will be in heaven, saved people. These are people who have truly repented of their sins and made Jesus their Lord and Savior by faith.  I can hear the choir from my home church singing: “How beautiful heaven must be. Sweet home of the happy and free. Fair haven of rest for the weary, how beautiful heaven must be.”  I will be there.  Will you?

Why The Cry From the Cross? (Part 2)

The first cry Jesus gave from the Cross is found in Luke 23:34 (NKJV):  “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”  People in sin are blinded to their sin by the god of this age, the devil. “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Cor. 4:3-4 NKJV).  Jesus knew this fact, and while He was suffering as no man ever suffered or ever will suffer, He cried out to God to forgive His killers.

Jesus was slapped, mocked, beaten, ridiculed, and spat upon, but yet, because He was God in the flesh, He forgave.  It is the character of God to forgive sinners when they truly repent.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NKJV).

God does not desire to immediately pass the death sentence on you because you have sinned.  He gives all people everywhere many opportunities to repent of their sins and move forward as a new creature in Christ. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come  to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV).

It is an eternal fact that God loves you with an everlasting love that cannot be fathomed.  It is so boundless that it can only be known by faith.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast”  (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV).

Jesus is no longer on that old rugged CROSS!  Jesus is no longer in that grave!  He has victory over death, hell, and the grave!  The cry for forgiveness still comes from our Lord to us today.  Ask Him and He will forgive you.

 

Why The Cry From The Cross?

In Matthew 20:28 (NKJV) Jesus said:  “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus was born to die and He knew it. The Cross on which our Savior died is the central point of our faith.  Without the death of Jesus on the Cross, we would be doomed to an eternity in hell apart from God forever and ever.  Hebrews 9:22 (NKJV) states:  “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.”  Our sins could never be forgiven without Christ shedding His innocent blood.

The Romans were brutal executioners.  A crucified man was more likely to die of asphyxiation than of bleeding to death.  Your entire body weight was placed on nails.  The pain and strain of this position quickly spread to your chest, where the pectoral muscles became virtually paralyzed.  Breathing became almost impossible.  You could inhale, but not exhale.  To release your breath, you pushed up on the nail through your feet, straightening your legs and body until the pressure was relieved from your arms and chest.  Then, because of the severe pain in your feet, you would fall down again until the whole procedure had to be repeated.  The Romans bent your legs in crucifixion to allow this unsightly heaving; and to prolong the agony of crucifixion.

Why The Cry From The Cross?  The song says:  “When He was on  the Cross, I was on His mind.”  Jesus had some things to say to the world while He was hanging on that Cross completing the work of redemption that God sent Him to do.  Yes, He did it all for you and me!  No love in the world can compare to the love of the LORD JESUS!