Posted

“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Hebrews 11:7 (Read Genesis 6-9)

When the number of people grew upon the earth, so also did the wickedness and rebellion against the Lord God. The believers (sons of God) intermarried with unbelievers (daughters of men) and the result was more and more people who did not walk in the ways of the Lord but followed after the imaginations of their own hearts — after their own evil thoughts and desires.

Genesis 6 says, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them’” (v. 5-7).

The account continues, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord … Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God” (v. 8, 9).

God told Noah, in days when the earth was yet watered by a mist (Genesis 2:6), that He would send rains and a flood upon the earth to destroy man and beast. And God commanded Noah to build an ark to save himself, his family and two of every kind of animal from the coming flood (Genesis 6:14ff.).

Even though a flood like that of which God warned was unheard of in Noah’s day, Noah believed the Lord and prepared an ark, warning others around him to repent of their wickedness and turn back to the Lord (cf. 2 Peter 2:5). By so doing, Noah forsook the present world and became an heir of the righteousness of God which is by faith.

Similarly, God calls upon all mankind today to repent and return to Him, warning that “the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7). God will once again judge this world and all mankind. As He was, at the time of the flood, forced to destroy those who would not repent and turn to Him for mercy, so He will soon condemn all who reject Him and the salvation He offers in the cross of Jesus. This present world and all of man’s evil works will be burned up on that day when Jesus Christ returns.

Those who heed God’s warning and repent, trusting in Christ Jesus and His shed blood for forgiveness and life, forsake this present world and look forward to another in which there will be everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness. They are forgiven and accounted righteous through faith in Jesus and walk in fellowship with the Almighty God by that faith and confidence in Jesus and His sacrifice for the sins of the world.

And God’s judgment is coming. But He is being patient with us, not desiring that any perish, “but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He calls us to turn from our evil ways, looking to Jesus and His cross in faith for forgiveness and life everlasting!

O dearest Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us, forgive us and grant us a place in your everlasting kingdom. Amen.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Author
Categories

Posted

“Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned.” Lamentations 3:40-42

The book of Lamentations is the tearful cries of the prophet Jeremiah as God’s judgment fell upon His people and as the nation and the holy city of Jerusalem were destroyed and those who survived were carried into captivity in Babylon. Jeremiah had testified against the wickedness and rebellion of God’s people and he witnessed the judgment which came upon the people and nation because they failed to heed God’s calls to repent.

The situation today is much the same. Our nation and our people are in rebellion against the Lord God who has so richly blessed us. As a nation, we seek to cast off all ties to God and His Word. We reject Him and His Anointed, the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Psalm 2).

And God’s judgment is beginning to fall but people don’t consider it and heed the warnings of God’s Word to repent of their evil ways and return to the Lord God who gives us life and all blessings and who won for us forgiveness of sins and eternal life through the death and resurrection of His Son, Christ Jesus, in our stead. Cf. Psalm 10:5; 2 Chronicles 7:14.

This, of course, is true for our nation and people as a whole, but it is also true of our churches and those who profess to be Christians. Churches and their ministers have turned aside from the God of the Bible and have attempted to mold God into their own image and likeness. They have rejected God’s Word given to us in the Bible and have substituted their own words and opinions. Instead of preaching God’s commandments and condemning sin as sin, they have preached their own words of tolerance and acceptance of all manner of sin and say nothing of God’s judgment. And, instead of preaching salvation by God’s grace alone and through faith alone in our Lord Jesus Christ and His bloody atoning sacrifice upon the cross, they preach a multitude of other ways to obtain heaven and eternal life.

These words most certainly apply to each of us as individuals. We may assume that all is well with our souls because of our religious worship and works, or we may assume that we can live as we please as long as we go to church, confess our sins and hear the absolution and partake of the Supper of our Lord. But God urges each of us to consider and heed these words: “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned.” Cf. Isaiah 1:1ff.; 55:6-7.

We may like to imagine that we are not living in sin, that we are not in need of self-examination and repentance, but God’s Word warns against such self-confidence and urges us to consider our ways and repent! God tells us: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). We are to examine ourselves in the light of God’s Word and repent, looking to Jesus and His shed blood for pardon and forgiveness.

Our catechism (The 1943 “A Short Explanation of Dr. Martin Luther’s Small Catechism,” Question 324) offers us this guidance: “We should examine ourselves to see — A. Whether we truly repent of our sins; B. Whether we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior; [and] C. Whether we have the good and earnest purpose with the aid of God the Holy Spirit henceforth to amend our sinful lives.”

David, in Psalm 139, prayed: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (v. 23-24).

God’s Word urges us to compare our lives with what God says in His Word and to repent of all that is sinful and evil, looking to Jesus and His cross for pardon and forgiveness and then seeking, with God’s help, to amend our ways and to walk in His ways, continuing in the true and saving faith unto life everlasting!

Reveal to me my sinful and erring ways, O Lord, and move me to repentance and true faith in Christ Jesus, my Savior. Amen.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Author
Categories

Posted

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believeth thou this?” John 11:25f. (Read all of John 11.)

If only Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died! So thought both Martha and Mary, Lazarus’ sisters (John 11:21, 32). We too may have had similar thoughts when we have lost a loved one to death — if only Jesus would have been here!

Yet Lazarus’ death was for the glory of Jesus Christ, God the Son in human flesh (John 11:4). Jesus was going to raise him up from the dead. When those who have trusted in Christ are raised up again on the Last Day and given everlasting life in heaven, this too will bring glory to God the Son; for without His innocent sufferings and death in our stead and His glorious resurrection, we would only rise to the eternal torments of hell!

When Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again, she said, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:23,24). It is then that Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26).

Jesus was telling Martha that, not only would her brother rise again on the Last Day, but He (Jesus) is “the resurrection and the life”! Jesus is the One who will raise up all the dead on the Last Day, and Jesus is the one who gives life. He breathed life into Adam’s breathless body at creation (Genesis 2:7); He breathes spiritual life into us today (John 1:4; 5:21,24-26; 10:10); and He will raise up all the dead on the Last Day and give eternal life to all who have believed on Him (John 5:27-29)!

And so it is that the one who trusts in Jesus as his Savior, even if he dies, shall live again; for Jesus, the resurrection and the life, will raise him up at the Last Day. And whoever lives and trusts in Jesus shall in no way ever die [Greek double negative], forever and ever into eternity; for even when the believer’s body dies, his or her soul goes to be with the Lord Jesus in heaven (Phil. 1:21-23; 2 Cor. 5:1-9; Rev. 7:9-17). Then on the Last Day, when Jesus returns and raises up the dead, the bodies of believers will be raised up and reunited with their souls, and they will live forever with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15)!

Do you believe this? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that it is He who will raise the dead and give everlasting life to all who believe on Him? Consider the evidence. Not only did He heal the sick and open the eyes of the blind, He raised the dead. When Jesus went to the tomb of Lazarus who had been dead four days, He said “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43); and Lazarus walked from the tomb alive! Not only this, but after His own death upon the cross for our sins, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day in victory that we might be assured of forgiveness and everlasting life in His name!

O dearest Jesus, grant us faith to trust in You as our Savior and hold fast to You, even in death, that we might be raised up on the Last Day, at the sound of Your voice, unto life everlasting and to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.

[Scripture from the King James Version of the Bible.]

Author
Categories

Posted

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.” Lamentations 3:22

Where would we be without the mercy and kindness of the LORD God?

The Bible makes it pretty clear: Because of our sinfulness and rebellion against God and His ways, we would be consumed by His wrath and suffer forever the torments of hell! But because of God’s loving-kindness and because His mercies are not ended, we live on in this world and are blessed of Him with life, food, clothing, shelter, family and loved ones.

Even more importantly, we are blessed with the Word of God and His long-suffering, giving us time to repent of our sinful ways and receive through faith His mercy and forgiveness in the crucified and risen-again Messiah Jesus.

The Bible says of Christ’s second coming and His judgment upon this evil world: “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).

That means that this world continues on a little longer because God is being patient and merciful toward us, not desiring that any should perish and be condemned to hell but that all of us should come to repentance and place our faith and hope in the Lord Jesus and His holy life and innocent sufferings and death in our stead. God is giving us more time to repent and come to faith in Jesus.

And so it is true: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.”

Every one of us – and that certainly includes me – are deserving of the cessation of God’s mercy because of our sinfulness, but His mercies are not ended. He continues to reach out to us in mercy and with forgiveness, calling upon us to repent and look to Him for mercy and forgiveness for the sake of Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross.

O gracious and merciful Lord God, thank You for Your mercy upon me. Thank You for not giving up on me and condemning me. Grant me forgiveness and life for the sake of the Son, Christ Jesus, my Savior. In His name, I seek Your mercy. Amen.

[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories

Posted

“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.” Isaiah 55:8-9

Are you smarter than God? Do you know more than the Lord God who created the heavens and earth and still preserves them?

You may say, “Of course not!” But why do you act as though you do?

Whenever people doubt and question what the Bible says, aren’t they doubting God? When people pick and choose what parts of the Bible they believe and what parts they don’t, aren’t they really saying they know better than God who gave us the Scriptures to teach us of Him, His will for us and what He has done to save us?

And when we disobey God’s commandments and set our own standards for what is right and wrong, aren’t we pretending to be smarter and wiser than God in determining what is good and best for us?

And what about us when we refuse to repent of our sinful and erring ways and look to Jesus and His cross in faith for mercy, forgiveness and life everlasting? Aren’t we really living and acting as though we know better than the God who loved us and sent His only-begotten Son into the world to suffer and die and make full atonement for our sins and the sins of all?

The fact is that we often live and act as though we are smarter than God, but the truth is that God is far smarter and wiser than we can begin to grasp! He knows what is good and right. He knows what is best for us. And, He calls upon each of us to repent of our sinful ways and look in faith to Jesus and His cross for pardon, forgiveness and life eternal!

God grant us the wisdom to believe and take Him at His word! Amen.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Author
Categories