I heard this yesterday morning to encourage believers during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic and I know all true born again Christians need to hear this and meditate on it. This is Vic Young from Fountain of Life Bible Church. Please listen to it you will be glad you did.
After you listen to the above click the below links and read and listen to The Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon on Psalm 91
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Day after day we are inundated with messages that contradict God's Word
It’s a normal day in the life of a typical man or woman in any Western nation:
Wake up and, while getting ready for the day, watch a morning news program that—by the stories it covers, the sources it cites and the language it uses—promotes a leftist-progressive bias.
Drive to work, listening to hit songs filled with sexual immorality, greed and violence.
Throughout the day, keep an eye on social media, where memes and discussions polarize neighbors, distort conflicting views and breed bitterness and cynicism.
Back at home that evening, watch television programs that—if LGBTQ activists have their way—will within the next five years have 20% of series regular characters portrayed as gay or lesbian. Or skip TV altogether and play a video game that glamorizes violence and crime.
Over the weekend, take in a movie that portrays a completely secular world where immorality and profanity are seen as normal, even desirable.
No matter the medium, popular culture floods our consciousness, giving it nearly unmatched power to influence our thoughts and actions, and even our laws and public policy.
“Popular culture both reflects and moves our society,” writes progressive author Tracy Van Slyke in the Huffington Post. “It shapes beliefs and behavior. It is where people are already paying attention.” Van Slyke’s observation explains why popular culture is so influential. The issue, then, is this: Will popular culture be used for good or for evil?
Billy Graham understood the power of popular culture for spreading the Gospel. From the earliest days of his ministry, he incorporated music, with Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shea becoming lifelong members of his team. His “Hour of Decision” radio program began in 1950, and before that decade was over, he was also proclaiming the Gospel through movies and television. In 1993, when the World Wide Web was just beginning to show signs that it might revolutionize modern life, Mr. Graham held a live chat on America Online. Today, BGEA continues to use music, video, radio, television, social media, evangelistic websites and more to spread the message of Christ.
But the predominant messages of popular culture are antithetical to Gospel truth. Messages such as:
- There is no God. Religion—fairy tale that it is—has no place in public life.
- Abortion is a basic right that simply removes unwanted tissue from a woman’s body.
- Homosexuality is perfectly good and should be encouraged, and those who think otherwise are self-righteous bigots.
- If one feels like one’s biological sex does not match his or her true self, we should aid and celebrate a gender change.
- Euthanasia and assisted suicide are useful options for those in chronic pain or suffering from a terminal illness.
And on it goes.
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by John MacArthur
God’s love for His own simply has no parallel in human experience. It is a powerful, immutable love that extends from eternity past to eternity future. It is a love that is not deterred by our race’s sinful rebellion against God. Because of this love, God pursues and redeems us even when we are morally and spiritually reprehensible and unworthy of His love in every way: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
In other words, God’s love is so great that He would stop at nothing to redeem those whom He loves—even though it meant giving His own beloved Son. In fact, the love of God is the supreme guarantee of the believer’s security. Of the many passages of Scripture that explicitly teach this, Romans 8 is perhaps the most spectacular.
The Pinnacle of Paul’s Greatest Epistle
All the writings of the apostle Paul are didactic and doctrinal. Most of his epistles begin with a section of pure doctrine and culminate with a section of practical application. The book of Romans follows that pattern, as Paul’s great treatise on justification by faith. The doctrinal section of this book is a full, systematic, logical exposition of the doctrine of justification. It reaches its pinnacle at the end of Romans 8, where Paul discusses the security of the believer:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. (Romans 8:31–34)
One of the main themes of Romans 8 is that salvation is entirely God’s work. Verses 7–8 declare the hopeless state of every unredeemed person: “The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7–8). The sinner is therefore trapped in his own insurmountable lostness, unless God intervenes to save him.
And as Paul states, that is precisely what happens. God Himself orchestrates salvation from eternity past to eternity future:
Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:29–30)
Every stage of the process is God’s work. There’s a tremendous amount of security in that. If our salvation is God’s work, not our own, we can be sure that He will see it to full fruition. “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Believers are “protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). God is both the author and the finisher of our salvation, and He personally guarantees that we will persevere in faith to the end.
That does not mean, incidentally, that believers will never fall into sin. We know from the lives of saints such as David and Solomon that it is possible for believers to sin in shameful ways. But what is guaranteed is that no true believer can ever fall away totally and finally from the faith. Genuine believers cannot lapse into unbelief. They cannot turn from Christ completely. God will discipline His children who sin (Hebrews 12:7–8), but even that discipline is a token of God’s love, not His wrath: “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6). True believers can never be separated from the love of God. God Himself guarantees it. As Jesus said, “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:28–29).
Professing believers who do fall away only prove that their faith was never genuine to begin with: “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19). That verse speaks not of people who fall into temptation and sin, but of those who fall away totally and finally from the faith. These are people who utterly abandon the faith. True believers are not capable of such spiritual treachery. God graciously and lovingly ensures their perseverance. Like Peter, we can be sifted like wheat, but if our faith is genuine, it will not fail (cf. Luke 22:31–32).
Here in Romans 8, Paul declares that God’s love is the greatest guarantee that every true believer will persevere in the faith. He uses a succession of arguments, all based on the truth that salvation is solely God’s work—and we’ll consider each of them in the days ahead.
(Adapted from The God Who Loves)
Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B200120
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Writing as an evangelical Christian who has taught ethics as a professor at the college and graduate school level for 42 years, and as the author of a major textbook on Christian ethics and another widely used book on the relationship between politics and the Bible, I wish to respectfully differ with Mark Galli’s editorial, “Trump Should Be Removed from Office” (Christianity Today, Dec. 19, 2019).
Galli gives six reasons why Trump should be removed, either by impeachment or at the next election: (1) He attempted to “coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of his political opponents,” and this was “a violation of the Constitution.” (2) This action was also “profoundly immoral.” (3) “He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals.” (4) He has “admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women” and “remains proud” about these things. (5) His Twitter feed contains a “habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders,” and this makes it “a near-perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.” Finally, (6) although the president has admittedly done some good things, “none of the president’s positives” can outweigh his “grossly immoral character.” Later he says that Trump has a “bent and broken character” and is guilty of “gross immorality and ethical incompetence.”
He concludes by warning evangelicals who support Trump not to “continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency,” because this will damage “the reputation of evangelical religion” and “the Gospel.”
These are strong words indeed. But are they true? Consider them in order:
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Heaven is a place more wonderful than we can ever begin to imagine. It is a place of joy and beauty, of peace and happiness that will never end.
Why? Because heaven is also a place where there will be no sin or suffering, no sorrow or pain. It's a place where there will be no quarrels or disagreements, no disappointments or weeping—because there will be nothing there to make us sad. And in heaven we will never do anything to displease God.
We will then know perfect joy. Psalm 16:11 says, "In Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever." Everything that now makes us groan will finally be done away with, and we will find ourselves in the very presence of God, where the purest and truest kind of joy is possible.
In heaven we will also have perfect knowledge. The Bible says, "Then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12). We will have no more unanswered questions, no confusion, no ignorance, and no more need to walk by faith rather than by sight.
We will live in perfect comfort. We will love God perfectly and will be loved perfectly by Him. His love will engulf us forever.
Stated simply, heaven is a place of perfect joy forever.
Think of it! We will be perfectly free from evil forever. We will be set free from captivity to sin, and finally able to do that which is absolutely righteous, holy, and perfect before God. With sin and its effects erased forever, the promise of heaven is an everlasting life of unimaginable blessing!
How good do I have to be to go to heaven?
Most people understand that doing evil can keep us out of heaven. But few realize the Bible also teaches that doing good cannot get us in.
None of us could ever gain enough merit to deserve heaven. We are sinful, and God's standard is utter perfection. Jesus said, "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20). He added, "You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).
Who then can go to heaven? Who can be saved?
Jesus' disciples asked Him this same question (Matthew 19:25). His answer? "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26). In other words, being saved so that we can go to heaven is not something we can accomplish. It is something God must do for us.
What if I stopped sinning now and never sinned again?
No matter how hard we try, we could never stop sinning because we are hopelessly in bondage to sin. The Bible tells us even our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). In other words, we are sinful to the core. Furthermore, even a single sin would be enough to destroy us forever: "Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all" (James 2:10). But even if we never sinned from now on, we would still be guilty of our past sins. And as the Bible says, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
But the good news is that God has provided a way to free us from the guilt of sin!
What has God done for me to take away my sin so I can go to heaven?
When God forgives, He cannot merely overlook sin. Full payment (atonement) must be made for our sin. Christ's death made full atonement for those who trust Him. If we believe in Him, His dying counts in our stead, paying for our sins in full. The Bible says, "The blood of Jesus... cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). It is only through the blood of Christ that we can ever be cleansed from the terrible guilt of sin.
But that only erases the guilt of our sin; we still need perfect righteousness in order to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20).
Where do we get that perfect righteousness?
If you truly believe in Him, the full merit of Jesus' own righteousness is credited (imputed) to you—to all those who trust Him alone for salvation.
The Bible teaches that God "justifies the ungodly" by reckoning (or crediting) Christ's righteousness to them (Romans 4:5). Believers are clothed in His righteousness, and God accepts them solely and exclusively on that basis. That's why the Apostle Paul was willing to discard all his own efforts to earn God's favor, preferring instead to stand before God robed in a righteousness that was not his own (Philippians 3:8-9).
If you are not a Christian, you need to lay hold of this truth by faith: the sin that will keep you out of heaven has no cure but the blood of Christ. If you are weary of your sin and exhausted from the load of your guilt, He tenderly holds forth the offer of life and forgiveness and eternal rest to you: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
How can I be sure Christ will save me?
The Bible promises that no one who believes in Christ will be turned away: "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). In the closing words of the Bible, Christ invites all to come to Him and receive the promise of heaven: "... Let him that heareth... come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17b).
If you would like to know Jesus Christ as your Savior and have the promise of heaven, we would encourage you to receive Him right now wherever you are. Simply pray:
Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I know that You died for me to pay for my sins. Please forgive me and make me one of Your own, that I may live in Heaven with You for all eternity.
Text adapted from the book The Glory of Heaven by John F. MacArthur
©1996 Crossway Books.
Taken from The Promise of Heaven by John MacArthur ©1996.
Used by permission of Good News Publishers.
For more information, visit www.goodnewstracts.org
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