A Voice Calling
Isaiah 40:3-8 NASB
A voice is calling,
“Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
“Let every valley be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
And let the rough ground become a plain,
And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
And all flesh will see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A voice says, “Call out.”
Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
This was the call of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus Christ and his earthly ministry. But, aren’t we all called to do this? Aren’t we all called to prepare people’s hearts to believe in Jesus Christ by sharing with them the gospel of our salvation?
Are we not, as his body, to be his hands, his feet, his mouth and his heart to the people of this world? Are we not, as his holy ones, to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light? Are we, his holy people, not to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and to make disciples of people of all nations, and to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth? Sure we are!
So, we need to be the people of God in making the way clear for people to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives. And, this means that we need to not short-circuit the gospel message, but we are to preach the full counsel of God, as did the Apostle Paul (Acts 20:27). We are not to sugar-coat the gospel message, either, to make it more acceptable and comfortable for people to receive, because what they are receiving, thus, is not the truth, and it is only the truth which will save them from their sins.
John the Baptist did not mince words. Neither did Jesus or his NT apostles. They spoke the truth of the gospel plainly so that we could understand all that is involved in belief in Jesus Christ, so that there would be no question as to what God requires of us or what it means to be a Christian.
So, if we are doing what this passage of scripture teaches, and what our Lord requires of us, then we will tell the whole truth of the gospel so that when people say they want to believe in Jesus Christ, they will know what they are signing up for.
Here is Your God!
Isaiah 40:9-11 NASB
Get yourself up on a high mountain,
O Zion, bearer of good news,
Lift up your voice mightily,
O Jerusalem, bearer of good news;
Lift it up, do not fear.
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
Behold, the Lord God will come with might,
With His arm ruling for Him.
Behold, His reward is with Him
And His recompense before Him.
Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
Here is the Good News: We are saved by God’s grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-10). His grace was made known to us through the death of Jesus Christ (God the Son) on a cross for our sins. When Jesus died, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15).
Faith in Jesus Christ is divinely persuaded as to Christ’s righteousness and holiness and of our need to follow our Lord in obedience to his will for our lives. Faith in Jesus Christ, thus, calls us to forsake our former way of living for sin and self, to be renewed of the Spirit of God in heart and mind, and to put on Christ and his righteousness (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Ac. 26:16-18; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21).
So, when you believe in Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior, you die with Christ to sin and you are resurrected with Christ to newness of life in Him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. The old has gone. The new has come. Whereas you used to live to gratify the desires of your sinful nature, now you walk in holiness and righteousness empowered by the Holy Spirit of God now living within you.
But, this is not optional, as some people would have you believe. You don’t believe in Jesus, and then have the promise of heaven when you die, and then get to choose if you follow him in obedience or not. He said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives (die with him to sin) for his sake, then we will save our lives (have eternal life with him).
(See: Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
As well, our salvation is not a one-time experience and then we are good no matter how we live our lives from that moment on. The Bible teaches progressive salvation, which some people call the process of sanctification. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Christ returns for us, his bride, and our salvation is complete.
So, this means that we have to walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh if we want the hope of eternal life with God and freedom from slavery to sin. For, Jesus didn’t die just to free us from hell, to forgive us our sins, and to promise us heaven when we die. He died that he might obliterate sin in our lives and that we might be free from our enslavement (addictions) to sin. Amen! THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS!
So, if we continue in our sinful addictions, and we make sin our practice, and we don’t walk according to the Spirit, and we don’t walk in obedience to our Lord, but we continue to live our lives for our own flesh and for our own pleasure, then we must know that we don’t have eternal life with God!
We will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit of God, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8). So, if you are living to the flesh and not to the Spirit, the Bible says you need to repent of those sins.
Why Do You Say?
Isaiah 40:27-31 NASB
Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
But, you say, it is too hard, and you have tried and failed, and so you have rejected the true gospel in favor of one that appeases your flesh and makes life easier for you, but easier is not better, and it is not a true picture of God’s grace to us. For, his grace does not appease sin, it puts sin to death. And, it instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return.
Then, you say you have prayed and you have asked God to take away the desire to sin or to miraculously deliver you so that you are never tempted again, but you don’t realize that he already made the way out for you, or maybe you do. You just have to take the way he made, which is not the easy way (the broad road), but it is the hard way (the narrow road).
But, he carries the burden of it for us, and he gives us all we need to resist Satan and flee temptation and to draw near to God. We do it in his strength, but we still have to do it. We still have to say “No” to wrong, and we still have to choose what is right.
So, there are no excuses for anyone who claims to be a believer in Jesus Christ to still be walking in the flesh and resisting the Holy Spirit, especially if you have known the Lord for a very long time. You know the right way. You know when you are doing wrong. And, you know that Jesus already made the way out for you so that you can be free from your addictions. You just have to decide if you want Jesus or if you want your flesh.
For, if we surrender our wills to Jesus Christ, and we let him be Lord of our lives, he will supply all the strength we need to walk in holiness and no longer according to the cravings of our sinful flesh. Do I get an “Amen”?
Only in Him
An Original Work / February 19, 2014
Based off Isaiah 30
Woe to those who look to man’s help;
Who turn away from Jesus Christ;
Forming an alliance not in step with God;
Making their own plans, and praying not.
Willing not to listen to truth,
They close their ears to what is right.
Pleasing words are all that they’ll hear;
Feel good messages that bring cheer.
Trust in your Lord; turn from your sin.
Put your faith now ONLY IN HIM.
Do not turn to idols. They’ll not satisfy.
Jesus will save you. That’s why He died.
Your Lord will be gracious to you.
He cares all about you, ‘tis true.
He forgives you all of your sin
When you give your life up to Him.
Oh, how truly gracious He’ll be
When you bow to Him on your knees;
Turning now from your sin; walking in his ways.
He’ll lead and guide you all of your days.
Now you will sing praises to Him.
He delivered you from your sin.
You’ll tell others now of His grace,
So they may see Christ face-to-face.
Saturday, June 23, 2018 – Thank you, Jesus, for dying for our sins so that we can be free from slavery to sin, and we can live holy and godly lives.