Sunday, May 10, 2020

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - A New Heart and a New Spirit

Over the past couple of months, I have been repeatedly asked a simple, yet poignant question, “Are we living in the end times?”

Many televangelists quote one particular verse in the Book of Revelation to scare those who watch their television programs into giving them more money or to buy survival food or whatever they are peddling to those who wish to be prepared. In fact, most do not even mention salvation to those who walk in darkness. If salvation is even mentioned, it is the last item that is discussed in passing and it is relegated to being more of a footnote rather than the single message to those who desperately need the Good News.

 In chapter six of the Book of Revelation, the author, John, writes, “I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals.

When you look at everything that is going on in the world, it is so very easy to see wars, famines and disease taking their toll on the global population. However, you need to remember the words of Jesus when he talked about the future.

In chapter twenty-four of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus, while talking about the future, says, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.” 

These events will and must happen. It is just part of the plan. He goes further to tell us that the end won’t come immediately. These are the birth pains and are the first sign of things to come. 

Since the very beginning of recorded time, theologians, laymen, students of the Bible and even the most casual of Bible readers have all thought about when the “trumpet of the Lord will sound and time shall be no more”. For some, it is their preoccupation. For others, it is a way to scare people into accepting Jesus. 

For me, all of the things that must and will come to pass are just part of God's plan to build a new heaven and earth with the old ones passing away. All things will be new and evil will be once and for all vanquished and cast into a lake of fire forever.

Instead of concentrating on the wars, famines and diseases, look to the salvation that God has freely given to you. Don’t look to the things of this world or fall prey to those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. These false teachers will lead you astray and deceive you. 

Jesus, in chapter seven of the Gospel of Matthew, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.

Paul, in his first letter to his brother in Christ Jesus, Timothy, writes in chapter six about these false teachers, “These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.

Don’t be deceived by those who preach the Word of God only to use it as a con to line their pockets. Their sweet words may taste sweet at first, but it will soon sour in your bellies. Don’t listen to their words. Listen to the voice and word of the Good Shepherd.

As His sheep, we know his voice and we already know the message. It is up to us to accept it and know that we have a place in Heaven with the Father forever. When we accept God’s gift of salvation, we know that we will see the results of wars, famines and diseases. We will be persecuted for our faith. But, we must remain steadfast in our faith. 

The prophet, Ezekiel, recorded these words from God regarding His restoration of His people, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

When we accept His son as our personal Savior and Lord, God, at that very moment, puts into each of us a new heart and a new spirit that allows us to follow His decrees and obey His laws. We no longer have a stony, stubborn heart that is prone to disobedience. Our hearts are tender and responsive to the true voice of the Master as He calls us to Him.

We no longer cower in the dark. We bask in God’s holy light and love. Through His gift of salvation and the blood of His son, Christ Jesus, that was shed for our sins, we are transformed to walk in the newness of life.    

In time, this world will fade away and will no longer exist. A new heaven and a new earth are our inheritance as long as we walk daily with Jesus and follow his teachings. Remember, do not let your hearts be troubled. All of the things we face daily, whether it is COVID-19, food shortages, or whatever, are just the events we must face. But, in the end, we will stand victorious with Jesus, our Savior, and stand firm His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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