Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yours to Live and Plan? The New Year

Life passes by so swiftly. The Scripture relates:
"The days of our years are threescore years and
ten; and if by reason of strength they be
fourscore years, yet is their strength labour
and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly
away." [KJV] Psalm 90:10





It is a common human trait, to be in control; or, at least, think we are in control. We love to make plans and to act upon them. And, to a certain extent, that is not a bad thing. Not to plan and act upon those plans would be irresponsible as we could become lazy couch potatoes. Not to make plans and act upon them could result in a very disorderly world. We humans live by time. We act upon time. We set our lives in order by time. We are, essentially ruled by time. Without schedules, our lives would be in disarray.

However, to take for granted that we are in control and that our plans are always commendable; and, that those plans should not be altered; – that, type of thinking, is neither advisable, nor, wise -- at least, from a divine perspective.

The Scriptures make it clear that it is the Triune God who created us, and, not the other way, around [Psalm 100:3 ; Colossians 1:13-20] We live in His world – not, ours. Sometimes, we would like to think that this world is ours. But, in reality, we are only passing through. Psalm 103:15 ; Psalm 90:1f

A non common human trait:

Are you one of many who make it a yearly habit to
come up with New Year's resolutions? What is the
basis for your wishes? Are you motivated by
cultural perceptions, or are you motivated by
lasting and spiritual values? Is your goal to be
comfy as the foolish rich man in Christ's parable:
Gospel of Luke 12:19-20?

It is a non common human trait to acknowledge that we are not in control. It is not common to acknowledge the Triune God in our everyday affairs. But that is what we are to do.

The Scriptures state:


"Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." [KJV] Proverbs 27:1

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”  [KJV] James 4:13-17


It is not wrong or unscriptural to plan. It is not improper to take control of our lives and run them by schedules and the clock. What is improper, wrong and even sinful, is to do all that without acknowledging the Lord of all.

Why is it wise to always acknowledge the Triune God in all our plans and endeavors?

First of all,
it is wise to acknowledge the Triune God in all our plans and endeavors, because that godly practice continually reminds us that we are not ultimately in control and that we need to humbly realize the Triune God’s divine sovereignty and provision in our lives. [See the concise explanation of the 1st article of the Apostle's Creed]


Secondly, we live in a fallen world. We can be going about our business (as, scheduled) and, be doing everything right [so, we think] – and then (without fault or error on our behalf) have calamity come upon us. We live in an imperfect world. Though we may follow all the rules – all it takes is for someone to screw up – someone to cross the center line on the highway; crash into us – and, we are laid up – with all our (well-intentioned) plans put on hold.

You, who do not (genuinely) know the Triune God – You, are, at most risk



The Scripture says that a person is to acknowledge the Triune God in all his ways and that He [God] would “make straight [his] your paths.” [Proverbs 3:5-6] But you who neither acknowledge the Triune God, nor believe His Savior Christ – you are absolutely incapable of acknowledging or obeying God. You, are bereft of His direction, comfort and support. The Scripture states that you are a dead [man] person walking. Your tracks are frozen in your sin. [Ephesians 2:1-10 ; Eccl. 7:20 ; Mark 7:21-23] Your present and eternal fate could be like the one man in the parable which Christ told:

The Parable of the Rich Fool -- Luke 12:15-21:



The Scripture says:  "What shall it profit a man
if he gain the whole world and lose his own
soul."  Gospel of Mark 8:36
......And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’


“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” ..... Luke 12:15-21


What will you do – you, who recognize your precarious position – and that your soul is priceless?

If you have reached the point where you recognize yourself a sinner, worthy of the Triune God’s just and equitable sentence and eternal punishment, there is hope for you. If you finally realize that your soul is (eternally) priceless, you are on the right track. But in spite of all your awareness, you are still helpless. You can fool yourself and try all you may to repeat a 4 or 5 part "spiritual formula" and then call yourself a Christian, [supposedly] "saved" by Christ. But that would be hypocritical because you’ve then circumvented the grace of God by going to a step by step formula to save your wretched soul. Only Christ can save a soul. And, the Scripture tells us that a soul is delivered from present sin and eternal damnation, [hell] strictly by God’s grace, through faith. Ephesians 2:8-9

Then, how will you gain the faith to believe? How will you trust your Creator God to accept the reality that you are a sinner whose sins Christ lived, suffered and died for?


The Scriptures themselves tell us that “faith” comes by “hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” [Romans 10:17] The good and gracious Lord has done all he could to purchase your soul for His eternal keeping. And, He has given His world the Divine revelation of the Holy Scriptures, ".....which, are able to make you wise to salvation, through faith, which is in Christ Jesus…...” 2 Timothy 3:15-17

May you, who cannot save yourselves from your sin, be like the Ethiopian eunuch. [Acts 8:26-40] Read the Scriptures and humble yourselves to have them explained. May you come to the point where you can believe like him and love the same Christ, who lived, suffered and died for your sins, - and, who, made eternal provision for your fallen and sinful soul, by suffering the torments of hell on your behalf. Isaiah 53:1-12 ; Matthew 27:46



May God grant grace to you to pay heed to the "instrument means" he has provided for you to work faith in Him! Romans 1:16 ; Romans 10:17 ; 1 Peter 1:23 ; Acts 8: 26-39 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:14 ; James 1:18

Amen.

Above Message and Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:


Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:




Related Scriptures To the Above Message:


Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures: 

Psalm 73:1f -- The righteous contrasted with the unrighteous soul -- the slippery fate of the wicked

Isaiah 55:1-2 -- The Triune God's call to the thirsting soul


New Testament Christian Scriptures: 

Luke 16:19-31 -- Christ's parable about another rich fool

Acts 8:26-40 -- The conversion of an Ethiopian eunuch



Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- An in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

Please note: Topical Messages, by subject

Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel
http://www.thechristianmessage.org/

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3

1 -- What is meant by “Believing” and / or, being, “Saved?”
2 -- How the saving (believing) process of the Christian Faith takes place
3 -- What are the tell-tale signs that a person has been “Saved” [is a Christian

Note: The above sermon message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Why Christ became a man

It was the harshest of all frontier winters. The man’s wife and children left for the Christmas Eve worship. He could not bring himself to believe in the Christ of Christmas. To him, God, becoming a man to “save” humanity, was, absurd.

The old Indian chief’s community weather forecast proved to be false. Rather than just a few flurries there appeared on the horizon a cold wind of blanketing heavy snow. As the wind increased with intermittent gusts and the snow began to drift, the man scurried to gather the farm animals into the barn. 


Once inside the sheltered barn with all the animals intact, the man noticed the birds being blown hither and yon by the gusting winds. It was if they also wanted in the sheltered barn to be delivered from the treacherous storm. 

The man, who loved birds and often welcomed their nests as perched residences within his barn, sadly paused before closing the door. He thought to himself:


“If only I could coax them inside, they would not freeze and would be saved from the wintry blast. It’s too bad I can’t be a like a bird and communicate with them to coax them into my barn. If only briefly, I could transform myself into a bird, I could fly to the flock, inform them of the present danger they face and end up rescuing them into my barn of safety – free from the present dangers and ultimate devastation of the wind, snow and cold.”

Upon hearing himself think these [above] thoughts, there flashed into the man’s mind, the clear and simple meaning of the First Christmas.

My friend, the simple, yet clear meaning and significance of Christmas, is the celebration of Jesus Christ. He came as God, in human flesh to destroy sin, (eternal) death and the devil. He came to rescue us from our sins and eternal death (damnation) by His birth, [holy] life, suffering, death and resurrection. He came to deliver us from being children of God’s just and holy wrath [because of our sins] and call us into His family. [Ephesians 2:1-10] The Lord God could do that masterful divine work, no other way, than to communicate with us -- and He did so with flesh and blood. He did it by being born as you and me [yet, without sin]. He did it by living a sinless life, (of which we could not), and by suffering and dying [as God's perfect sacrifice for human sin] upon a cross. He completed his rescue and sealed its eternal finality by rising from the dead.

It is my prayer that those of you who visit this site, would come to know by faith [Hebrews 11:6] the one and only Triune God, who manifested Himself in the Savior person of, Jesus Christ. The good Lord did not leave His creation without a clue. He provided for us the Holy Scriptures -- His Divine Revelation for that very purpose. Romans 1:16 ; Romans 10:17 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ; Acts 8:26-39 ; 1 Peter 1:23 ; James 1:18


May you utilize this website to help equip you to understand, by faith, that, which only the Lord of all, can reveal to you.

Amen.

Related topical messages (to the above):
Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:

The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins



Related Scriptures To the Above Message

Scriptures:

Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures:

Isaiah 9:6-7 -- The Savior, Christ, prophesied 700 hundred of years before his birth

New Testament Christian Scriptures:

Luke 2:1-20 -- The first Christmas -- Jesus Christ, the Savior, is born

Matthew 7:13-29 -- Words of Jesus, the Christ

John 3: 14-21 -- The Gospel Message

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

__________________________________________

Please note: Topical Messages, by subject

Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel
http://www.thechristianmessage.org/

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3

1 -- What is meant by “Believing” and / or, being, “Saved?” 


Note: The above sermon message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The True Christmas Message is Not the Cradle, but the Cross

As the song lyric reads about Christ:  "He left
the splendor of heaven, knowing his destiny;
was the lonely hill of Golgotha; there to lay
down his life for me."
Perhaps, one of these Christmas seasons this emeritus pastor will gather the necessary materials to build a front yard Christmas manger with an added distinguishing feature. If, ever this author arrives at that point of fulfilling this desire, I’m sure that there will be some raised eyebrows.

My conception of a nativity scene, includes a tall cross right behind the manger. I know that this would be unusual and even offensive to some people because the Scripture says that the cross of Christ is an offense. 1 Corinthians 1:18

The Cross of Christ stands in direct opposition to the (politically liberal) American "political correctness" and "multicultural values' mentality. As such, the Cross of Christ becomes an offensive symbol to any nation's secular, religion.

Culture and society and many professed Christians desire the comfy secular symbols of the Christmas holiday season, without the genuine acceptance of the one distinguishing symbol and sign of Christmas – that being, the Cross – the purpose for which Christ was born. John 18:37 ; John 12:23-50 ; especially -- John 12:31-32

The Gospel of Luke chronicles the angelic announcement to simple shepherds who welcomed the news of Christ’s birth with all seriousness and joy. The Gospel of John, does not relate the birth of Christ as does the Gospel of Luke [Luke 2:1-20] but relates the [pre-incarnate] existence of the same Christ, which took on human flesh and was born among us. John 1:1-18

John’s Gospel relates in imagery language, Christ, God’s human communication to human creation and that this divine revelation and presence became very personalized in the God-man, Christ. [John 1:1-18] It says of Christ: 

“He came to His own [people and creation] and His own received Him not.” John 1:10-11

Some sinners feel that their
intelligence is insulted to believe
in the Christ of the Divine Revelation.
But, they have no problems
accepting the historical presence
of ancient historical personages
such as Socrates, Julius Caesar
and others. Their sinful pride exposes
their gross hypocrisy and disdain for
other past historical documentation.
If the arrival birth of Christ was [is] the world’s greatest event of human history – then, why is that reality (for the most part) not genuinely recognized, celebrated and truly lived?

As with all of history’s events and realities, it takes “faith” to believe what took place. Even after 200 plus years of American history, one must believe and exercise faith, for the historical reality -- the existence of the “father of our county,” General (and President), George Washington. None of us were there to witness his presence as the United States was being formed and framed.

As finite human beings we must come to realize, that there are all types of realities for which we cannot witness on the spot, as a laboratory scientist would, upon repeatable experimentations. We know that there are scientific realities, but at the same time, we accept, just as genuine, those peopled presences of the past and those events of the past, to be no less genuine as the test tube experiment. It’s called “history,” and historical documentation.

This same historical documentation is with the Christ of the historical (prophesied / fulfilled) Old Testament Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, -- those same Scriptures which many of us have come to accept as reality truths of the Christian message and the eternal import that it realized upon our lives and the souls of all of humanity.

Faith has to be personable for it to be practical

With the angelic announcement to the shepherds came the words: 

“For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!” Luke 2:11

The Shepherds had the choice as many people today, to ignore the message of the Savior. And, people today, in huge numbers exercise their free moral will, ignoring the reality that they are sinners, in desperate need of the Savior. In fact, these same people, who often spurn God’s message of the forgiveness of their sins, are the same group who turn cynical and ridicule those souls who have accepted the Savior, Christ and the forgiveness of sins, and the new life, which He offers. It is no wonder, why they do not possess genuine joy in their lives as they haplessly grope to old age and then to their pitiful godless end.

People who either ignore, spurn, or ridicule the Triune God’s message of Christ – His birth, life, suffering, death and resurrection from the dead, often will take what is in God’s Revelation gift, to humanity, the Scriptures, and pervert that very Good News which God utilizes to deliver and save their damnable souls. It is that very same good news which the Scriptures relate, which tell us that we are sinners headed for hell in desperate need of the Savior. It is through these very same Scriptures, as found in the Hebrew Old Testament and Christian New Testament, which God the Holy Spirit utilizes to create saving faith within one's priceless soul. Romans 1:16 ; Romans 10:17 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ; Acts 8:26-39 ; 1 Peter 1:23

Their fatal rejection is of the Savior once born in Bethlehem, prophesied years before His birth. [Genesis 3:15 -- Isaiah 7:14 -- Isaiah 9:6-7 and Isaiah 53:1f] That same message and the non-reception of Christ the Savior, continues by unbelieving souls. 1 Corinthians 1:23 – 1 Corinthians 2:14 ; John 1:10-11

It takes a needy life and heart to receive the Savior born, in Bethlehem. It takes a person who is willing to make an honest appraisal of his (her) life of sin, apart from a holy and just God, to finally conclude that they deserve nothing but (eternal) punishment for their sins on earth, upon the gasp of their last breath. Knowing and being familiar with the Christmas story and living a half way’s decent life, does not qualify a sinful soul to be received into God’s holy heavenly graces. It takes a personal reception of the Savior Christ to effect present forgiveness of sins and a future heaven. John 1:12-13

But how does a person arrive at “faith” to believe what God has said and then place that faith in Christ, the Savior, from sin?

Friends, I could proclaim and write until I’m blue in the face – and others multiplied, do – but the knowledge and reception of the Savior Christ, must take place, individually within a needy soul’s life. [Luke 5:29-32 – Luke 15:1:1f ; Luke 23:39-43] As the Scripture says, faith believes that Creator God is, and that “….He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

The faith that delivers and saves your needy soul is not dependent upon societal status or financial success

The quest for faith in the Savior to save from the present ravages of sin and hell are oftentimes bogged down by a needy soul’s dependence upon popularity and financial status. When all is comfortable in your life, and everything appears to be going great, how much do you think about God, your sins (of present and past) and the punishable consequences of God’s eternal court proceedings? Luke 12:16-20 – Matthew 25:31-46 ; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

Know this, you who are presently comfortable – those of you who have no or few physical problems; no financial debt and are, for all intents and purposes, (relatively) living “high on the hog.” Know that all these blessings of body health and temporal material, ultimately come, from Creator God. Know that it is He who yearns for your soul [Ezekiel 18:23] Know that, it is He who hates your sin. [Proverbs. 6:16-19] But know that it is He, who has made every provision for your soul, [Genesis 3:15 ; John 3:16-17] as your life will soon be tapped for divine judgment. Matthew 25:31-46 ; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

Where your true life can be found

As this year closes, find your life’s true meaning and purpose in the baby born in Bethlehem. But don’t stop there at the infant manger-baby-Jesus scene, and jam your emotional and sentimental gears. Realize for a historical fact, the person of Christ’s sinless life and death on your behalf and his resurrection from the dead (which certifies his name, character and God-head). Know that for a fact, this same Christ who stood in temporal judgment by Pontius Pilate’s court, [John 18:33-38] will be the one, single reality, who will pass sentence on your future destiny. John 18:37 -- Matthew 25:31-46 ; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

When you travel by a manger scene, think what that infant God / Man, Christ, grew to be. Place in your mind, that cross behind the manger displays and begin to think about the true meaning of Christmas. And then, (by God's Grace) as the timeless hymn lyric states, you will have begun your journey to the Savior Christ, as did the Shepherds of old:

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n; So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heav’n; No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin; Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

O holy child [Christ] of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell: Oh, come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Immanuel!


Amen.

Other Christmas messages:


Above Message and Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:
The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins



Related Scriptures To the Above Message
Scriptures:

Isaiah 7:14 -- Isaiah 53:1f -- Isaiah 9:6-7 – Micah 5:2 – Prophecies of Christ, hundreds of years before His birth

Luke 2:1-20 – the birth of Christ

John 1:1-14 – The pre-incarnate Christ and the “Word” made flesh

1 Timothy 1:15 and 2 Corinthians 5:15 – Christ’s purpose – to rescue sinners


John 18:37 - Christ before Pontius Pilate. Christ cam to bear witness to the Truth!

_____________________________

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.


Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

http://www.thechristianmessage.org/


Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.


2 -- How the saving (believing) process of the Christian Faith takes place 

3 -- What are the tell-tale signs that a person has been “Saved” [is a Christian

Note: The above message was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Heaven


Heaven: What makes it so special? - Why will so "few" be there?

The Resurrected Christ promises to
return to take His disciples with Him.
Those who are still alive when Christ
returns a Second time will inhabit
heaven. Those found with no faith
will be cast into hell. Revelation 21:8 ;
2 Thessalonians 1:3-10
This last week I attended a Christian burial of a Bickel relative. After leaving the funeral and funeral meal, I stopped by a nursing care facility to visit my cousin's aunt. I walked into the room and found her asleep in her ride-around chair. I knew that she would welcome me again, as she always appreciates my visitations. So, I awoke her.

As we were conversing, I asked her how she liked her new residence, since after being hospitalized, she was placed in another facility. She responded: "I'd rather be in my own home." My cousin's aging aunt (who is in frail health) did not complain about her resident surroundings - even though it was not as lavish as her former care facility. She, further related that the perfect place for her, would be back in her own home. To that, I replied, that if it didn't work out for her to return to her own home, she had a special place in heaven prepared for her by the Lord Jesus, and that the future (eternal / permanent) residence would be far more preferable. After all, doesn't the Scripture say:?

"....But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'” 1 Corinthians 2:9

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." [Christ's recorded Gospel words to His disciples] - John 14:1-3

When I mentioned "heaven" to my cousin's aunt, it was as if her whole countenance lit up. It was a joy to see her smiling face. She remarked: "I often think of heaven and wonder what it is going to be like, there."

The Scripture exhorts Christians to set their minds on "things that are above where Christ is." [Colossians 3:1] Certainly, my cousin's aging aunt was doing that. As a Christian, she was exercising her "eyes of faith." 2 Corinthians 5:7 ; 2 Corinthians 4:18 ; Hebrews 11:1-26 ; 1 Peter 1:8

A descriptive pic of heaven. It is more difficult to
depict than hell. Why? Because the Scripture says:
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which
God hath prepared for them that love him."
1 Corinthians 2:9. See also: Romans 8:18 and
1 John 3:2 
Heaven is a genuine place [it is real] – Following, is an incomplete (brief) description
  • Heaven is spoken about, as being “far better country” and a “city.” Hebrews11:1
  • Heaven is designated by Christ, as His heavenly Father's abode (house / home). He tells His disciples that He goes to prepare a "place" (spot) for them. Christ further describes heaven as having many "mansions" (residences). John 14:2-3
  • Heaven is referred to, by Christ, (in His Gospel parables), as a “kingdom.” Matthew 25:1f
  • Heaven is “everlasting” (eternal - without, end). John 3:16 ; 1 John 2:25
  • Heaven is the destination “life,” of Christ’s believer / disciples. [1 John 5:13] Also, explained, is that this “life” is relational. 1 John 5:11 ; Job 19:25-27 ; Hebrews 5:9
  • Heaven is a spiritual environment to joyfully exist and live, (spiritually), with the Lord, Christ. It is described as “eternal ‘life.’” 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 ; 2 Corinthians 5:1 ; 1 John 5:11
  • Heaven’s residence is for Christ’s believer / disciples to enjoy the shedding of their bodily frames to enjoy the spiritual existence bliss of heaven’s glories. 1 Corinthians 15:1f ; 2 Corinthians 5:1-4
  • Heaven is a place of everlasting comfort and bliss. Luke 16:19-31 ; Psalm 16:11
  • Heaven’s perfection is bereft (minus) of all earthy stress, sorrows, troubles and woe. It is a place in which the Lord God provides everything needful for His saints. Revelation 7:15-17 ; Revelation 22:5
  • Heaven is the unfathomable and unspeakable experience of believers living with their great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Psalm 36:8 ; Psalm 17:15 ; Matthew 5:8 ; Acts 2:28 ; 1 Corinthians 13:12 ; 1 John 3:2 ; Jude 1:24

Heaven is a Perfect Place

The Scriptures depict heaven as a perfect place. Throughout the Bible, descriptions of heaven are minus, what we are all familiar with, here on earth. Matthew 22:23-30

First and foremost, heaven will be totally lacking sin and sinners:


Heaven, lacking sin and sinners, is what will make it perfect. God’s elect (his genuine believing disciples) will have been cleansed from their sinful earthy (and mortal) selves by the perfect sacrificial sin cleansing blood of Christ. [John 3:14-17 ; 1 Peter 1:18-25] Those in heaven will have been clothed with the righteousness (perfection) of Christ. [Romans 1:17 ; Romans 10:4 ; Philippians 3:9 ; Matthew 22:1-14] Once their bodies are joined to their heavenly spirits, following the resurrection of the dead, believers in Christ will take on a new and wonderful spiritual bodily existence in heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:1f

Those who will not live in heaven are those who continue to be living in their sinful (lifestyle) state. [1 Corinthians 6:9 ; Galatians 5:19-21 ; Ephesians 5:5 ; Revelation 21:27] At the Last Judgment, these unbelievers will be sentenced to a life of eternal damnation. [Matthew 25:31-46] They will be destined to a place of punishment horror (hell) for having neglected "so great of salvation.” Hebrews 2:3 ; Luke 16:19-31

Heaven is to be Inherited – Matthew 25:34-46 – Specifically, Matthew 25:34

The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures teach that heaven is the eternal perfection place, of which, (the believer's destination), is gifted from the mercy and love of the Triune God. That mercy and love was demonstrated in the person of the historical Christ, which entails and embodies the “grace of God, issuing the “gift” of God, which is received by faith, by the individual. [Ephesians 2:1-10] Believers in Christ, “inherit” this heavenly hereafter kingdom home of perfection. Ephesians 1:1f

Also, note: Some Scriptures that state that heaven is a reward for the righteous – (true) believers in Christ:

Romans 5:21 ; Romans 6:23 ; 2 Corinthians 4:17 ; Hebrews 5:9 ; 2 Timothy 4:8 ; James 2:5 ; 1 Peter 1:4-5 ; 1 Peter 3:9 ; Revelation 21:7

Unforgiven (unrighteous) sinners [non-believers]

One of the things which makes heaven
incomparable to hell is that heaven is a holy place
and a state lived with God, forevermore. Psalm
16:11. On the contrary, hell is both a place and
conscious state of loneliness, torment, suffering
and eternal regret, devoid of the holiness of God
and His heaven and all that is perfect.
You, who are unbelievers, - you who have not accepted by faith the Messiah Christ, who was born on your behalf, and who lived a perfect life and died a perfect sacrificial death on your behalf – and, who was raised from the dead, -- you sinners (unrighteous) will not experience heaven. You will forever be damned in your sins. You cannot earn your way into heaven by either being good or better than other people. The Scriptures say that your personal goodness is worthless before Almighty God:

Romans 3:23 ; Job 15:16 ; Psalm 14:3 ; Isaiah 64:6 ; Romans 1:18-32 ; Romans 6:23 ; Philippians 3:9

You sinners (unrighteous) will discover that you will have no place in heaven. [Psalm 1:1-6 ; Luke 16:19-31 ; Matthew 25:31-46] Without faith in Christ as your (only) Savior from your life’s sin and its eternal damning consequences, you are doomed to a hereafter of suffering destruction!


Heaven: What makes it so special? Why will so "few" be there?

Christ, Himself, (as quoted in the historical Gospel record), gives us a glimpse of heaven’s possession rarity:

.......Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them........... Matthew 7:13-20

…........“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’....... Matthew 7:21-23

Sinner – heed the words of Christ’s call:

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." Matthew 7:24-29

Sinner - may you realize the priceless worth of your dear soul! May you read and hear the Scriptures which are able to create faith within your soul! Romans 1:16 ; Romans 10:17 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ; Acts 8: 26-39 ; James 1:18

May you be convicted of your sins before a holy God who will have no alternative than to punish you to the fullest extent according to His perfect Ten Commandment laws! Galatians 3:10-11 ; James 2:10 ; Romans 6:23 ; Romans 3:19-20

May you finally believe Scripture’s historical record and place faith in the promised Savior Christ, of the Hebrew and Christian prophecy packed and fulfilled, Scriptures. And, finally, may you be counted in heaven’s numbers! Revelation 5:9

Amen.

TLH - "The World Is Very Evil" - Verses 1 & 5 - CPH - (St. Louis; 1941)

The world is very evil, the times are waxing late. Be sober and keep vigil, the Judge is at the gate.The Judge that comes in mercy, the Judge that comes with might, to terminate the evil, to diadem the right.

O sweet and blessed country, the home of God's elect! O sweet and blessed country that eager hearts expect! Jesus, in mercy bring us to that dear land of rest, who art, with God the Father and Spirit, ever blest.


Above Message and Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:
The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins



Related Scriptures To the Above Message

Scriptures:

Matthew 7:13-29 - Christ's Gospel recorded words about the Narrow Way and the wisdom of building one's life house upon the "Rock"

Luke 16:19-31 - Christ's parable about the rich man and Lazarus and heaven and hell

Matthew 25:1f - Christ's Gospel recorded words about the "kingdom of God," the end of the world and eternal judgment

John 10:1f - Christ's Gospel recorded words about Himself being the Door

John 14:6 - Christ's claim of exclusiveness

_____________________________

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.


Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel
http://www.thechristianmessage.org/

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.
2 -- How the saving (believing) process of the Christian Faith takes place
3 -- What are the tell-tale signs that a person has been “Saved” [is a Christian

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christ's Teaching about the End of the World

Why Christ's Teaching about the End of the World is Not Popular with Many Christians

Christ's teaching about the end of the world, isn't "worldly" enough for some Christians. People's curiosity is such that they crave to know more than they are meant to know. Christ taught that no one knows when the end would come (except, God, the Father). [Matthew 24:36] Yet, there are those who claim to know. This year, there was the big news by the Rev. Harold Camping that the end of the world would come at a specific date, [5/21/11] - but that day came and passed without incident.


Human nature is such that it craves for a super hero to fulfill fleshly and earthly wishes. People think that there is a perfect political leader who could and / or will make this world so much better and wholesome.

Christ's teaching about the end of the world doesn't give the details some Christians would like - so, they are sinfully prone to fill in the details. [Proverbs 30:6] Human imagination is quite capable of filling in the blanks. Especially, when it comes to the Bible, some Christians take liberty and misinterpret what Scripture actually says. They will add human reasoning and embellish certain Bible passages, not taking into account the clear passages of Scripture which don't give credence to their end of the world ideas and speculations.

Present day Christians repeat the same (type of) error as the Jewish people of Christ's (earthly) day. They will equate the "Kingdom of God" with a future earthly (millennial) rule of Christ. Yet, Christ, himself, stated to Pontius Pilate (in very clear words):


"....My kingdom is not of this world...." [KJV] John 18:36-37

And, in other places of Scripture, we are taught that Christ's Kingdom is not material, but an eternal spiritual reality:

"Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. [KJV] Psa 45:6

"But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom."[KJV] Hebrews 1:8

".....Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this....." [KJV] Isaiah 9:7

"....for the kingdom of God is.....righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost [Spirit]..." [KJV] Romans 14:17

".....Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins..... [KJV] Colossians 1:12-14

Please note Christ's words recorded in the Gospel of Matthew 25:31-46:

Christ's kingdom is spiritual and eternal. Nowhere in the historical literary record of Christ's words can an intelligent [reader] person, honestly conclude that Christ was talking about an earthly kingdom. Christ's words strictly refer to an abrupt end to the world as we know it and then the divine pronouncement (sentence / judgment) of the righteous and unrighteous for the duration of eternity. Those Christians, who teach a “millennial” earthly 1,000 year reign of Christ upon earth, do so with ignoring (and / or, perversion) of clear Scripture passages.

Christ’s “kingdom” is intended to bring spiritual healing, and spiritual well being, - not a materialistic (earthly, "human like" type) rule (dominion) of glory:

"....Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins......" [KJV] Colossians 1:12-14

".....For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ....." [KJV] 2 Corinthians 4:6

"...... To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me......" [KJV] Acts 26:18

".....These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." [KJV] John 16:33

Why Christ's Teaching about the End of the World is not popular with Many Christians

Christ's (Gospel recorded) teaching, and, Scripture's teaching, is the antithesis [opposite] of the desire of some Christians to anticipate a glorious and victorious Christ, finally, coming back to earth to finalize his authority and rule, reigning in a thousand year dominion as an earthly potentate. What is often the case with Christians, is, that Christians often give in to their old fallen (sinful) nature and discount the spiritual, over the [material] worldly. [Romans 12:1-2] They do not set their eyes (of faith) on the spiritual, but, rather, (sinfully) focus on the natural. Colossians 3:1f

Also, what is often missed and ignored, by many Christians, is that Christ's victory over sin, death and the devil was accomplished at Golgotha’s Cross, approximately 2000 years ago. That, was the focus of His coming, - to be born as a special perfect human being, living as the (sinless) God / Man, to complete the mission and sacrifice activity for which he was called and sent [John 6:38]:

"..... But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain....." [KJV] Galatians 4:4-11

Note: See also – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

You, ["unsaved"] unregenerate (unconverted) sinner:

You may take glee that this whole Biblical teaching of Scripture about the end of the world finds itself an issue of great controversy among various Christian groups. But, for a moment, deflect your Schadenfreude (gloating / glee type) thinking of Christians.

Attempt to seriously concentrate on your own sorry situation and pathetic circumstance. What are you going to do when the end of the world comes, (should it come within your lifetime) – or, at the end of your life, if and when you are not prepared to meet your Maker?

What will you do in your last gasps of breath? Do you think that you can sweep away a whole lifetime of denying your Creator God by a swift death bed confession of sin and then be converted? I will tell you that having ministered to those on their death beds, there are as few death bed confessions and conversions as there are, hen’s teeth. The Scripture warns and proclaims that “now is the day of salvation!” Don’t feel as though there is always time and opportunity to make your peace with God and be reconciled to your fellowman. Don’t put off dealing with the sinful disease of sin that has afflicted your lifetime soul from birth until your dying day! Isaiah 55:6-7

Search for spiritual wisdom in the divine revelation of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures [Proverbs 1:1f] Realize that you cannot leave this world thinking that you’ve been a good person which will qualify for a holy heaven. Know that God rejects sinners from his holy eternal home, and that you need [Christ’s] perfection to enter in! Matthew 22:1-14 ; Philippians 3:8-9

See yourself as a wretched sinner who needs perfect cleansing from all your sins against God and your fellow human beings! [Luke 15:11-32] Cry out to God to have mercy upon your pathetic and sinful soul! [Luke 18:9-14] Read and hear the Scriptures which are able to make you “wise to salvation” [2 Timothy 3:14-17] and which are able to work faith into your heart to believe [Romans 10:17] in the historical Christ, whose special birth and perfect life was holy Creator God’s perfect sacrifice for all of your damning sins. [Isaiah 53:1f ; John 3:14-21]

And, finally, may you, be counted (by God’s Grace) to be one of heaven’s redeemed!

Amen.

Above Message and Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:


Related Scriptures To the Above Message

Scriptures:

Luke 17:20-24 ; Matthew 24:23-29 – Christ, in His own Gospel (recorded) words describes the awful conditions preceding the end of the world and how His disciples would be treated. Please note that there is no suggestion of an earthly (millennial) reign of Christ, as some Christians would believe and have others, believe.


Matthew 25:31-46 – The end of the world in Christ’s own Gospel (recorded) words

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.


Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3
2 -- How the saving (believing) process of the Christian Faith takes place
3 -- What are the tell-tale signs that a person has been “Saved” [is a Christian]