“Knowing God” and “Obeying the Gospel” Pt. 1

KNOWING GOD

2 Thessalonians 1:5-8 It is a clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering, since it is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

You may say…of course, I know God! Or do you? Do you know the definition of what it is to know someone? It means you’ve met them face-to-face at some point in your life. The number (and length, quality, variety) of times/places that you’ve met in person affects how “well” you know them. How “well” you know God depends on how much time you spend in prayer (face to face) How much time you spend reading HIS WORD (the Bible). How much time you spend with fellow Christians sharing your GOD moments and testimonies. You will soon realize that the more you get to know God, the more “awe and reverence” you have for Him. For me… this pilgrimage has led me to want to “obey” Him in every aspect of my life.

Now here’s a couple more questions: Who is God and what is He like? We’ll start by addressing the attributes of God which you will find when you study your Bible. This is my list so far with a little scripture to back up the attribute.

God is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY immediately comes to my mind. The Merriam-Webster dictionary: Definition of holy. 1 : exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness. I’m not sure that this definition actually encompasses “exactly” what Holy is, but for the sake of our limited human understanding, we’ll accept the definition. Here are some Scriptures that encompass “HOLY” Genesis 2:3 God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation. Revelations 4:8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming. Moses removed his sandals because He was on Holy Ground.

GOD IS RIGHTEOUS: Morally correct behavior. Ethical Conduct. Just and fair! Leviticus 19:36 You are to have honest balances, honest weights, an honest dry measure, and an honest liquid measure; I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Revelation 15:3 They sang the song of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb: Great and awe-inspiring are Your works, Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are Your ways, King of the Nations.

God is Glorious: Brightness! Revelation 21:23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s glory illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. Respect, Honor and Majesty are the Definition of the Hebrew word kavod (Glory).

God is Gracious and Loving: Kind and Feeling! Psalm 86:15 But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth.

God is Faithful: True Blue! Loyal! Psalm 52:8 But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever.

GOD IS TRUSTWORTHY: He deserves our trust because He is reliable. Numbers 23:19 God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes His mind. Does He speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill? Psalm 9:10 Those who know Your name trust in You because You have not abandoned those who seek You, Yahweh.

God is Unchanging: He’s dependable! 2 Corinthians 1:18 (KJV) But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

God is Omnipotent: ALL Powerful! Jude 1:25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.

God is Omniscient: All-Knowing! Isaiah 66:18 “Knowing their works and their thoughts, I have come to gather all nations and languages; they will come and see My glory.

God is Omnipresent: He’s everywhere! Psalm 139 7-10 Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, 10 even there Your hand will lead me;

God is Infinite: The beginning and the end! Revelation 1:8 I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

God is Wise: Good Judgement! Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, observing the wicked and the good.

God is Just and Merciful: Morally Right and Fair! Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. All who wait patiently for Him are happy.

I’m quite certain that these attributes are just the beginning of who God is…I pray that they’re the beginning of you wanting to get to know HIM better!

HE’S Alive! HIS Resurrection Celebration is Upon Us!

My personal questions: Isn’t it breathtaking that God rose Jesus from the grave in the springtime in Jerusalem; a time when the earth is also awakening from the dead of winter? Let me also ask you: Do you have the love and joy of Jesus welling up inside you like a spring of living water? Do you feel as if you’re going to burst with joy as you proclaim “Jesus Risen”? Do you wake up every morning saying “Thank YOU GOD for another day to share what Jesus did for me on the cross? Do You tell everyone you meet that Jesus is the ONLY way and that without Him, they’re dead in their sins? John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live.

John 6:40 For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” What an awesome promise! JESUS will raise us up! He knows His sheep and we recognize HIS voice! As His followers, we can hear His voice because we have studied the scriptures and we know Him and our Father in Heaven. The Holy Spirit that He sent to us lives within us and speaks to us concerning every tiny detail of our lives…we just need to learn to listen…

In the Gospels, Jesus foretells of His death and resurrection.

Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Matthew 17:22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men,

Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Each time Jesus spoke of His death and resurrection to His disciples, they didn’t seem to grasp what He was telling them, He even had to rebuke Peter, telling Satan to get behind Him. 2000 years later, we still face the incredulous disbelief of those who don’t understand God’s plan. The plan that was made before our creation – that Jesus would come to earth to die. That for a brief moment Jesus would be so covered by the sins of this world that the Father would leave Him because God can’t stand sin and He had to turn away from His own beloved Son. When we realize that God HATES Sin…how do we persist in it?

Eye Witnesses of Jesus Resurrected

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:5 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas (Aramaic for “Peter”), then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me.

Promise of Eternal Life with Him

1 Corinthians 15:20 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-15 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep.

Ultimately Jesus gave us the “gift of eternal life” when He died on the cross taking our sins upon himself. I have such a difficult time understanding how anyone could turn down such a wonderful gift! Does anyone want to die and stay dead forever? I’ve heard so many say…is this ALL there is? OH MY GOODNESS! My heart breaks for them! Especially because God made it so easy for us…believe, repent obey.

Has anyone else died for YOU? Do YOU know anyone whom you believe would die for YOU? Is there anyone that YOU would lay your life down for?

Jesus’ Apostles and other followers laid down their lives rather than deny Jesus (Yeshua Hamaschiah) the Messiah. Why would they do such a thing? Why would they be willing to die for Him? Why did they keep the faith until death? Because they’d witnessed His miracles, they’d witnessed His Love, They’d witnessed His death and His Resurrection!

They didn’t just believe, they knew that they were going to receive eternal life!

Jesus said in John 10:27My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.

On Fire for Jesus!

Evangelism is fired by our desire to share our faith in our Savior Jesus Christ.  “All” sinners are under the wrath of God unless they repent from their sins and believe and trust in Jesus, they are “lost”.  This is why it’s vital for us to talk to those around us and those we meet who have no idea that they are “lost”.   We must prick their conscious so they wake up and realize that they need saved.  We “ALL”, Jewish and Gentile alike need the Son of God…we need for our unrighteousness to be exposed by the repenting of sins and accepting Jesus as our Savior so we can be cloaked in his righteousness.  Then and only then will we be able to stand before Heavenly Father with Jesus as our mediator.

When we feel the inspiration to evangelize, it’s vital to pray and ask for God’s guidance so we will be speaking His will, not our will.  Then move forward with the Love of God and Love of Man in our hearts.  Understand: it’s not our place to convict anyone, it’s not our place to try to make anyone feel guilty.  When evangelizing, our only commission is to share the good news (the Gospel) that we all have Salvation and eternal life because of our Faith and the Grace of God and that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, covered us with His righteousness and is our mediator with our Father in Heaven.  The person must feel convicted of their own accord because they realize that they are not following a Godly life.

As Christians, Jesus commissions us to evangelize:  Jesus intentionally chose 12 people to disciple and then he spent the remainder of his earthly life on with these 12 disciples. Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Engage others: Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen (so be it, let it be).

If evangelism seems a little intimidating, begin by keeping your heart open to the people around you who are at least curious about God; share with them, you’ll plant the seed and with God’s will, the seed causes them to be hungry for the Word of God and fuel the burning desire to follow Jesus.  When you’ve found this person, take the time to disciple them through scripture and personal testimonials of how God has worked in your life.

YES!!! It would be wonderful to bring thousands to Christ, but right now, let’s just concentrate on planting the seed of Salvation in one person at a time.   As we grow and learn in Christ, it will become easier.  Eventually you will be able to share with strangers. 

After you have engaged a person watch for the evidence of receptiveness:

Are they appreciative of the Word? Are they appreciative of your time and your willingness to guide them? Are they honestly hungry for Salvation or do they groan when you talk about your faith in Christ? Are they truly willing to repent…(probably the most difficult subject to address) the Bible mentions the word “repent” and “repentence” 106 times in the KJV and like many other words used in the Bible, it has various and significant meanings: regret, atone, to be sorry, ask forgiveness, feel sorrow and be remorseful…these are just a few…

Matthew 4:17   from that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand

Acts 20:21 “repentance toward God” (change of mind), and “faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

If at some point in your conversation, if they aren’t as interested as you originally hoped or thought…don’t beat yourself up and don’t argue…if you discover that the person whom you thought was interested isn’t, pray for God to move their hearts and then be okay with it, you’ve planted the seed and scripture tells us to move on…don’t dwell on what you could or should have said…don’t go back to them and try to rehash in order to change their mind as this may cause them to drift further from the truths you were trying to share with them.  Allow our Father in Heaven to do His will…and count it as a learning step for future evangelism.

Luke 9:5 5If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

Matthew 10:14 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

Mark 6:11 11And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

Acts 13:51 51So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium.

Luke 10:11 11‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’

Once you’ve spoken with someone about Salvation, if they show a flicker of interest, you need to ask if they have a Bible and if they don’t have a Bible, be prepared to get one to them (have a Xtra Bible or two with you especially for this purpose)…if they do have a Bible, make a casual but joyful comment about dusting it off and spending time getting to know the Word of God.  Have a couple of scriptures in mind for them to look up because eventually, they will need to take steps on their own. You might also mention that their cell phone has over 2000+ Bible apps available.

There are some evangelists who are able to stand on a street corner and share the message of Salvation to onlookers in hopes of planting the seed…however, this style of evangelism is not a calling for everyone, but we can learn from watching and examining their approach.  If this style of Evangelism sparks an interest in your heart, please take a look at this website it’s given me a lot of excellent information including teaching info on Evangelism, Apologetics and tools to help you share the Gospel.

www.livingwaters.com

Here’s another awesome quote from Charles Spurgeon (1834 – 1892) Baptist Preacher “The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perish sinners and his blessed master, will be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the brave fireman, who cares not for the scorch or the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity has set his heart.”

As we look forward to celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, who, being raised from the dead has provided us the gift and opportunity for everlasting life, as Christians we delight in this knowledge.  Think about this: if we trust what the Bible tells us about Hades, Gehenna & Sheol (HELL) and what will happen to those who don’t follow Jesus, we need to feel horrible fear for those who don’t believe.  This horror combined with “Love” for our fellow man should drive us to do or say whatever is needed to sear their conscience and turn them to God.  There will be a time when the “Book of Life” is closed and we need to plant as many seeds of faith as we can before that time arrives.

Why Do Evangelists Call for Repentance?

Matthew 10: 7 And as ye go, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (KJV)

The principle of “Evangelism” is to bring our fellow man to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as his or her Savior.  We must not be complacent…the day will come when his mercy will end, so we must not take his mercy for granted, we must share the Gospel while there’s still time!

The Bible teaches that as the church, we are the “body of Christ”. “We are to love the people of the world.  We are here for this very purpose – to go into the nations and proclaim the Gospel to all who will hear.” ***(The Gospel Project, Vol 2, p.96) 

As the “body of Christ” we are blessed…we know Jesus died for us and that when we repent (turn away) from our sins and put our trust in Jesus, that by His intercession, He will save us from God’s wrath.  Here’s the hitch…there are many living on this earth, in this country and even in your town that don’t know Jesus, they don’t realize that they’re dead in their sins, because they don’t recognize what sin is.  They may have heard of Jesus, but they have no idea of the consequences of their thoughts and actions, because they’ve never heard the “Good News”. 

Heavenly Father reveals this “Good News” to us through Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection. Matthew 11:45 (HCSB) “Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.’”

ALL I can say is WOW! Doesn’t reading this scripture make you want to go out and share the Gospel – The GOOD NEWS- with the entire world. Don’t be afraid to share…as Christians we have the Holy Spirit to guide us and encourage us. Are you on fire for Jesus? The more you study your Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you, the more on fire you’ll become! Soon, you will want to share with everyone you meet. In the letter of Paul to the Ephesians he writes that if you allow Him, the Spirit will mold you and form you in order to bear His message without fear. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (HCSB)

The Old Testament Books and the New Testament Books of the Bible proclaim the Good News! From the very first praise, the entire Bible is about Christ and what He has planned for our Salvation! “In the Beginning”…according to the pictographs… God reveals that the SON of GOD will be DESTROYED with His HANDS on a CROSS.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the herald, who proclaims peace, who brings news of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52: 7 (HCSB)

Zion, herald of good news, go up on a high mountain. Jerusalem, herald of good news, raise your voice loudly. Raise it, do not be afraid! Say to the cities of Judah,” Here is your God!” Isaiah 40:9 (HCSB)

He (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4: 16-19 (HCSB)

The Apostle Paul taught: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 (HCSB)

“The Mission” Evangelism is our mission!

As we study the Bible we see that God’s plan for the church (the body of Christ) is much greater than man’s plans.  In the book of Revelations 2, there are 7 angels sent to convey Christ’s letters to 7 churches…when you read these letters to the churches, you realize that they all fall short in one way or another.  As I study the 7 letters, I find myself praying that as the body of Christ, we will heed the messages in these letters and do our best to follow His plans for us and the world. 

***I used excerpts from The Gospel Project (our adult Sunday school guide).

*Most of my Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible…for the sake of the person who has trouble understanding the King James Version of the Bible. I have used the KJV all of my life until I was called to Evangelize and then I realized that people who don’t know God have difficulty understanding the KJV vocabulary as easily as the HCSB.

Go Out into the World

2 Cor 6:16 (HCSB) And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 

Mark 16:15 (HCSB) Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” John 14:6 (HCSB) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  The church is the collective body of Christ. As a people who’ve proclaimed Christ as their Savior, our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. As followers of Christ, we are the Disciples of Christ, we’ve been given a tremendous task: we are to glorify God by living Godly lives and being steadfast in our commitment to Christ. We’ve been granted and called to the commission of leading others to reconciliation with Heavenly Father through belief in Jesus Christ.

I will be speaking a lot about “Responsibility in Salvation” as well as our commission to “Evangelize”.  In the fast paced, busy world that we live in today, it’s difficult to manage the reality of this assignment to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.  We don’t need to go into the WHOLE world, we only need to start by having a relationship with our neighbors, whether it be next door or in line at the grocery.  Yes! I know it’s already challenging to meet the demands of our jobs and to find balance between family commitments and our commission to share the Gospel.  When we stop at the grocery, we’re thinking about what we’re doing next and if there’s enough time to get from point A to point B before it needs to be done.  

I’d like to say that I have an answer to the dilemma, but to be honest, I just know there’s a quandary and it’s up to each individual or family unit to find the way.  For some it seems very complicated…but it may be as simple as sitting down (first alone and then with our families) and making a list of what’s really important and what’s not. 

Start this with a prayer asking Heavenly Father to show you His Will.  You can then assign each commitment a number of 1-5 with 5 being VERY important.  Perhaps when you compare notes with one another, they will give you some idea of what can be eliminated or rearranged to make room for more time to devote to Heavenly Father and the Gospel.  Through this process, you may discover that there’s certain commitments that the family is participating in under duress, you may find some commitments that you all “LOVE” and these are definitely keepers.  Now comes the point in time where you need to look at the lists fairly and arrive at agreements that the whole family can live with.  If one person has an item on their list that is very low and it’s higher up on the other lists…you need to have an open-minded conversation about why this specific commitment is or isn’t on equal footing with the whole family.  Keep in mind that this is not an overnight process and that it may take you weeks or months to sort it all out, but it will be worth it in the end.  

Once you’ve sorted out your busy lives and in some cases removed some worldly activities, now you can make time to commit to Evangelism.  Remember, we must do only things that honor His name and bring Him glory!  When we follow his commandments Mark 12:30-31(HCSB)  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” We need to offer ourselves as living sacrifices – acceptable to Heavenly Father in thoughts, words and actions.  We must provide the Holy Spirit with a Temple that cherishes our Heavenly father and has the desire to share all the wonderful things that God has done in our lives.  When we’re feeling a little selfish with our time, we need to ask his forgiveness and remember:  “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  When you talk to someone about what Jesus did on the cross for mankind, share with them that you too are a sinner and don’t deserve his forgiveness…speak to them with loving kindness and an honest desire for them to be saved.  It may be as simple as asking someone what church they go to…if they don’t have one, it will give you an opportunity to invite them to your church.  When you bring someone to your church stand up at announcement time and introduce them as your neighbor or new friends.

***HCSB is the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Very easy to read and understand…especially great for a new follower of God.

What is Evangelism?

Evangelism is the communication of the gospel message that includes a warning, an explanation, and a call to Salvation at the Cross by the blood of Jesus. Evangelism warns people about sin and it’s consequences (John 16:8; Acts 24:25; Revelation 20:11-15). It includes an explanation of God’s remedy for sin—the gospel (Acts 8:29-35; Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21). And it includes the clear call to repent (to turn from sin and to turn toward God) and believe the gospel, by faith (Mark 1:15; Luke 13:1-5; Acts 17:29-31; Romans 1:17; Romans 10:9-13).   https://carm.org/what-is-evangelism

The principle of Evangelism is to bring our fellow man to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as his or her Savior. We must not be complacent…sometimes I think that Americans are the most complacent people on earth. We need to wake up as the day will come when His mercy will end, so we must not take His mercy for granted, share the Gospel while there’s still time!

The entire chapter of Matthew 10 tells the disciples of their commission to go out and preach, He warns them of the pitfalls…Matthew 10:16 Jesus said…”Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves… so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 4: 17 And as ye go, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The Bible teaches that as the church, we are the body of Christ. “We are to love the people of the world.  We are here for this very purpose – to go into the nations and proclaim the Gospel to all who will hear.” (The Gospel Project, Vol 2, p.96) 

As the a member of the body of Christ I’m fortunate…I know Jesus died for me and that when I repented (turn away) from my sins and put my trust in Jesus, that by His intercession, He will save me from God’s wrath.  Here’s the hitch…there are many living on this earth, in this country and even in our town that don’t know Jesus. They don’t realize that they’re dead in their sins, because they don’t recognize what sin is.  They may have heard of someone named Jesus, but they have no idea of what He did for mankind or the consequences of their thoughts and actions, because they’ve never heard the Good News. 

 “Now once a man has thus been humbled by the Law (10 Commandments) and brought to the knowledge of himself, then he becomes truly repentant for the true repentance begins with the fear and with the judgment of God.  He sees that he is such a great sinner that he cannot find any means to be delivered from his sin by his own strength and effort of works.” (Martin Luther)

The Ten Commandments EXODUS 20: 1-17 (NIV)

And God spoke all these words:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Martin Luther, O.S.A. 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Luther was ordained to the priesthood in 1507. Wikipedia

As I study the Bible I see that God’s plan for the church is much greater than man’s plans.  In the book of Revelation 2, there are 7 angels sent to convey Christ’s letters to 7 churches…when you read these letters to the churches, you realize that they all fall short in one way or another.  I’ve been told by many that these letters only pertain to the churches that existed in the early church or that they’re actually periods of time throughout history starting with the early church. Fast forward to today and I believe that these letters pertain to today’s churches too. How many of us are lukewarm? How many of us make time to read our Bibles and spend time getting to know God? How many of us honor His gifts (including waking up in the morning to have another chance to get right with Him)? How many of us stay home to watch football instead of worshiping Him with the congregation? How many of us stop to smell His roses, stop to enjoy His sunset or sunrise, gasp at the beauty of a new born baby created in His image? All glorious creations of God! Everywhere we look we are surrounded by His magnificence and wonders and the testimony of His creation is before us. When I study the 7 letters to the churches, I find myself desperately praying that as a congregation of followers, we will heed the messages in these letters and try our best to follow His plans for us and the world. 

***The Gospel Project is an adult Sunday school study program with teacher’s guides and student workbooks.