For every need the answer given in the scriptures is, look to the LORD!
Even when Jesus prayed, he looked up to heaven.
Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. Matthew 14:19
What does it mean to look up to the LORD?
“Look up” in the Hebrew language is tsâphâh which means to peer into the distance, to observe, await, to keep watch.
Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at “look up” in context.
Psalms 5:3 tells us that looking up is connected to prayer.
I will direct my prayer unto thee and look up.
I will watch and observe in prayer what the Lord says to me. I will wait for his direction, I will wait for his word.
Isaiah 8:17 tells us that the prophet says, he will wait and look to the lord for an answer to his prayer.
Isaiah 45:22 says that when we look with respect to the Lord, he brings salvation. God alone can save us from our sin, and save us from all trouble.
Zechariah 12:10 tells us that when the Spirit of grace and supplications are poured out from the Lord, it causes the nation of Israel to look up to the Lord.
We can see a spiritual principle here. Putting this together we find that when God’s mercy is released through the spirit of prayer, it brings revelation knowledge of Jesus Christ.
An important point to remember when praying for Israel but also for the lost of all nations.
The book of John reiterates this. Using the Greek word optanomai. To look or gaze with awe and wonder.
And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. John 1:36-40
So we can see that this “looking” phenomenon is more than simply taking a look. It’s looking with respect, awe, and wonder. Like gazing into the eyes of the one you love!
Keeping this in mind let’s examine this “looking up” in the context of prayer.
Hebrews 12:2 Says looking unto Jesus. The Savior pierced for our sins who is the author and finisher of our faith.
Looking with awe and wonder with respect to the Lord, the author of our faith who is also the completer of our faith.
We must look to the Lord for our salvation which encompasses all the things we need to be saved from.
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:4 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34:5 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. Isaiah 45:22
But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7
In Exodus 6:1-9 we read that the Israelites could not hear God’s word that he wanted to deliver to them because they had a broken spirit.
Many times because we have been hurt or abused by someone emotionally or spiritually our ears become closed to the truth. Even if the truth is right there in the Bible staring us in the face! We will ignore it or simply outright deny it.
There are two ways to go when one has been abused. We can hold on to the grudge and allow a bitter root of judgment to set in or we can forgive and go to the Lord for healing.
Choosing to hold on to unforgiveness, resentment and unbelief can have effects on us physically. It can cause mental illness like depression, arthritis or rottenness of the bones as scriptures call it, as well as all manner of sickness.
By sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. Proverbs 15:13
Below are links confirming the Bible through science.
God cannot heal us if we refuse to let go of hate, anger and revenge.
A broken spirit “dries the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
A broken spirit causes shame, confusion, disappointment, depression, withering or pining away.
The Bible gives us a remedy for a broken heart and a crushed spirit.
Psalms 51:17 tells us that the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.
Broken in the Hebrew is shâbar. It means to be broken in pieces, to burst, break down, bring to the birth, (trauma,) crush, destroy, hurt, quench, tear apart.
Ruach, is the inner spirit person or heart.
The meaning of sacrifice is to “offer up.”
When we offer up to the Lord our broken heart he will bring healing. The first stage of healing is to see if there is any part we may have played in the offense or abuse. If we provoked our situation in any way we need to repent and stop the behavior.
Then we must forgive. To forgive is to let go of the offense. Don’t hold anything against that person. If we take matters into our own hands by revenge, like slandering, cursing, or putting our hand to the person, we will only add more trouble to our grief. The Lord asks us to forgive others so he can forgive us.
We need to allow the Lord to revenge or bring correction into the situation instead of playing God by taking matters into our own hands.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 5:32
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Matthew 11:25
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14
The next stage to healing is to draw near to the Lord. As we draw near to Jesus, he will draw near to us.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8-10,
The Lord draws near to the one with a broken heart and a contrite or crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 The Lord does not despise them or look down on them.
After the Lord Jesus ministers his grace, healing, deliverance to us as he sees fit because we are all different, then it is time to build up the walls around our heart.
Proverbs 15:13 tells us that without control over our spirit, that is without being able to influence or manage our heart, it is like a city with no walls. The heart is not protected from danger.
How is this building up walls around our heart done? By renewing our mind with God’s word. Whatever scriptures are needed to counter act those negative thoughts and emotion we can apply them to our lives.
We do this by praying the word of God into our heart, meditating on the word, (thinking on those scriptures) and by praying for those who have hurt us! When we know deep in our heart the truth, then the truth will set us free indeed!
The Bible tells us that we are saved by grace THROUGH faith.
Grace (charis) is defined as the divine influence upon the heart. A benefit of favour.
Paul uses the Greek word charis to define God’s favor bestowed by his Son Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Paul is preaching to ancient Greeks who were idol worshippers.
Characteristics in ancient Greece were often personalized as gods in Greek culture.
In ancient Greek mythology Charis is a representation of several Greek goddesses known as the Charities whose characters are charm, beauty, goodwill, human creativity and fertility.
Paul was pointing out to the Gentiles (non Jews) that the benevolence of God acquired for us salvation through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.
Grace or unmerited favor extended by God according to the scriptures must be accompanied by Faith in order for salvation to occur.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8,9
Some people preach that God’s grace saves in and of itself. This is not true. While God’s grace poured out by his divine love is extended to all it is not realized by any until grace is received by faith.
What is faith? In ancient Greek mythology Pistis or Faith was the personification or god of good faith, trust and reliability.
It is the same in our common law. Faith or “good faith,” is having an honest and sincere intention.
Many believe faith to simply mean belief. Again this is not true. To intellectually believe something to be true does not mean one receives that truth for themselves.
I may believe that red peppers have a very high amount of vitamin C and are good for me but I may not want to eat them because I don’t like them or because I am not in the mood for them or I’m indecisive about other aspects concerning them. Maybe I think I may get heart burn if I eat them.
Believing something to be true does not mean adhering to that something personally.
Pistis in the Greek is faith which sincerely believes and trusts in something which in turn leads to conversion or changing from one particular thing into another.
Pistis according to the ancient Greeks was faith or belief which came about by the act of persuasion.
To be fully persuaded is induced by evidence or proof which is given.
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Romans 4:21
Blind belief is not Biblical faith. God has given much evidence for his existence and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Examples of this are;
Jesus rising from the dead seen by many witnesses.
Witness testimony of the disciples.
The power of the Holy Spirit confirming the word through signs following.
Jesus mentioned by Jewish and Roman historians in their historical texts.
In the Old Testament we can see an example of faith in action.
Abraham heard God’s voice telling him to follow him.
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. Genesis 12:1-4
Abraham heard God’s voice speaking to him. What Abraham did not know is where he was going. Abraham trusted God because he was a friend of God. You don’t become someone’s friend without a bona-fide relationship.
According to the Bible, faith comes by hearing God’s word or voice. (rhema)
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of God. Romans 10:17
Evidences of faith are built by having a relationship with God.
This relationship requires obedience to his voice.
Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:3-5
Believing or Faith (pistis) in God requires trust. This trust is developed by having a relationship.
Paul used the word pistis to describe trust in God for his grace.
How is grace through faith received? The Bible tells us it is by repentance or metatoia.
Metatoia in ancient Greek meant changing one’s mind about something or some one. Metatoia was depicted by the ancient Greeks as a sorrowful goddess filled with regret for having failed or missed the moment.
In early Christian literature (See Tertillian) metanoia is expressed as a change in one’s thinking that leads to a fundamental change in behavior or way of living. This change is a key ingredient for receiving salvation.
Jesus made it very clear in scripture that without repentance there is no salvation.
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, yeshall all likewise perish. Luke 13:3
In conclusion, God’s grace extended through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Savior is received by faith which is trusting in God through obedience to the truth.
Since you have purified your soulsby obedience to the truthso that you have a genuine love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from a pure heart. 1Peter 1:22
This faith is realized by repentance or a turning away from one’s own ways to walk in obedience to the voice of God through his eternal word.
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Peter 1 :22
When this is done, God through his grace by faith imputes or accredits to the recipient his righteousness.
That is the convert now is in perfect standing with God.
In John 4:19-20, the Samaritan women said to Jesus, (after he told her information about her life) “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”
In response Jesus says to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Samaria was a part of Israel that many Jews avoided. They would go around, taking a longer journey when going to Jerusalem from Galilee, rather than go through Samaria
The Samaritans were Israelites from northern Israel who historically were part of the Assyrian captivity. (2 Kings 17:24-29) They had intermarried with settlers from other nations who occupied northern Israel.
The Samaritans were not thought of as Israelites by the Judeans, but rather as “people of the Mesopotamian city of Kutha/כותה’, which refers in itself to a certain reception of thepassage 2 Kings 17.24, Josephus’Antiquities.
While holding to many Jewish beliefs and customs which included looking for the Messiah, the Samaritans believed that because they had come to live on Mount Gerizim they were called (because of Moses), to protect it as a sacred mountain.
The Samaritans also held different theological and political beliefs than the Judaeans in the south of Israel. While the Samaritans worshipped YHWH they had competing temples. Mt. Gerizim was the Samaritan sanctuary while the Judeans worshipped in the temple built by King Solomon in Jerusalem.
They also had different religious texts. The Samaritans had 5 books of the Torah in their Samaritan Pentateuch with a Samaritan twist, including the Mount Gerizim doctrine. The Samaritans rejected much of the Hebrew Masoretic text consisting of 24 books.
The Samaritan women at the well was told by Jesus that the Samaritans did not know what they worshiped but the Judeans knew what they worshipped. This was due to the fact that the Samaritans had little knowledge of God because they rejected much of the Hebrew text.
Also many Samaritans mixed Hellenistic ideology into their culture. (The idea of reasoning, science, moral ethics based on human standards.)
After the conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, the Samaritans, like all other people groups in the region, came under the influence of Greek culture. The Samaritans in time developed their own form of Hellenism.
Fragments of Samaritan literature in Greek, as well as a number of Greco-Samaritan inscriptions ( In Palestine and the diaspora) testify to this. The Ancient Samaritans and Greek Culture Pieter W. van der Horst Faculty of Theology, Utrecht University (Emeritus), 3512 JE Utrecht, The Netherlands
The Hebrew text confirms the temple of Jerusalem as the place where YHWY was to be worshipped. That is why Jesus said, “we know what we worship.”
“The Lord said to him: ‘I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” 1 Kings 9:2-4
The Samaritans rejected the Judean authority of scriptures and their oral law.
Jesus made it clear to the Samaritan woman that the hour would come when neither on Mount Gerizim nor in Jerusalem would the Father be worshiped. For two reasons. Both temples would eventually be destroyed but also after Jesus’ death and resurrection those who were true worshippers of YHWY would now worship Him in spirit and in truth.
No longer would those two temples be necessary anymore because after Jesus’ death and resurrection the temple veil in Jerusalem was ripped in two, giving direct access to God for his worshippers. Jesus would now be the high priest and intercessor of his people.
Jesus told the Samaritan women that God is a Spirit and requires his worshipers to worship him from a spiritual perspective. Not from a religious perspective based on a physical temple.
YHWY no longer lives in a temple made by hands. Those who are born of God by his Holy Spirit are God’s temple. He resides in the born again spirit of his elect, chosen from the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4
Jesus said, “You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
Jesus continues in John 3, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So, it is with everyone born of the Spirit”
To be born again is to be born of God, born of his Holy Spirit. (Regenerated into a new spiritual person.) Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38
How can one become born again in order to become a child of God and enter his kingdom?
Consider the following scriptures.
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. Mark 1:15
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.” John 5:1
God told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they would die. That is they would experience physical death (which eventually they did) as well as spiritual death, separation from God or YHWY.
Death or maveth‘ in the Hebrew is the giving up of the spirit from the body. For the Christian death means to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8 )
For the unsaved death is to be separated from God, cast into torments or hell which is a holding place for lost spirits. (Luke 16:19-31)
The “second death” is the everlasting perdition of the wicked in the lake of fire. (Revelations 2:11, Revelations 21:8)
Why would partaking of the tree of the “knowledge” of good and evil cause death?
According to Gnosticism (mystery Babylon ideology) da‛ath (Hebrew for knowledge) is the gateway to having “knowledge” or having mystery understanding of spiritual realities.
This concept of “knowledge” is known in all mystery Babylon religions. By that I mean all religious systems outside the gospel of Jesus Christ. These systems have one thing in common. Belief or “knowledge” that is contrary to the gospel.
In other words, this partaking of the knowledge of Satan’s religion causes both physical and spiritual death to occur.
It is interesting to note, that the word for good, or the knowledge of mystery Babylon “good” is the word ţôb in Hebrew which means to prosper, be wealthy, having everything associated with temporal earthly pleasure.
Satan offers worldly pleasures to those who partake of his kingdom. He even tried to bribe the Lord with worldly gain. (Matthew 4:9)
Jesus on the other hand offers life abundantly. The same life YHWY offered to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.
Scriptures tell us that whoever has the Son has life but whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life but the wrath of God abides on him. (1 John 5:12)
This abundant life which Jesus wants to give is not the same as what Satan has to offer. It is not worldly pleasure and sensual gratification.
God’s life is chay in the Hebrew language. To be alive, renewed, revived, spiritual life in YHWY. Eternal life.
Jesus says he is THE LIFE.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. John 11:25
This is the purpose that Jesus came to earth as God incarnate. To give life.
Jesus is the tree of life. He is the life offered to mankind.
Whoever partakes of Jesus Christ by being born again or revived with renewed life has eternal life. Life forever and always.
No death can keep the born again child of God in the grave.
The thief or Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. Satan offers worldly pleasures that in the end cause spiritual death.
Jesus offers life or eternal chay with him. Everlasting life. Life that never ends.
This abundant life that Jesus gives flows from the Kingdom of God. It is not of this world. It is not material temporal earthly pleasures. (John 18:36)
God’s life flows from his Son. It is a life expressed from a heavenly point of view. A life operating in God’s realm or through God’s Holy Spirit.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoeverwill lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25
The tree of knowledge is not just an evil or dark and sinister knowledge but a knowledge of earthy sensual wisdom which gratifies the carnal nature. Satan’s “good” is really a death trap for all who partake of it.
God’s life is in his Son. It is eternal life. Life with YHWY forever.
He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1 John 5:12
Do you want to have God’s life? Eternal life that flows from his kingdom?
Jesus is the tree of life. Come to him Jesus Christ and be saved.
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
In Luke chapter 15 Jesus is ministering to people with backgrounds contrary to the social norm of the society in which he lived. The religious people were upset about it. They could not understand why Jesus would spend his time speaking to outcasts.
Jesus explains through three different parables how important a lost soul is to God. He likens the lost person to sheep having gone astray from the fold.
In shepherding societies the animals tended are very important. They represent a family’s whole livelihood.
Shepherds bond to their animals. They are very protective against predators. In fact when a shepherd is successful in defending his herd they are highly esteemed by the village. It takes great courage to defend the fold against a predator. Sometimes at the cost of the shepherd’s life.
A valiant shepherd will gain prestige among his people by being a faithful and brave shepherd.
The people of Jesus’ day understood shepherding concepts. To find a lost sheep was a very rewarding experience.
Pastoral societies value their animals so much that they will defend them with their very lives.
When Jesus likened sinners to lost sheep this placed a value upon them that the religious people did not share.
The next story that Jesus tells reveals again his love for sinners. This is the story of a woman who had ten pieces of silver but lost one of them.
The woman lights a candle in order to search clearly. Then she sweeps the house diligently, looking for the lost silver coin.
Silver was a currency commonly used in Jesus’ day. It was an international currency. A silver coin could be a day’s wages to some people back then and because silver was extracted using human labor, that made it even more valuable. To lose a day’s wages was to experience a grave hardship.
Jesus reveals to the religious people of his day that a lost soul was like a lost silver coin. In God’s kingdom, a lost soul being found and restored to Father God has such value that it causes all heaven to rejoice.
I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance. Luke 15:7
In order to hit home his point Jesus gives to the religious people a third story. The number 3 according to Biblical application is the number of completion. In the Hebrew language, the number 3 is shelos which means harmony, new life, and completeness.
His next story ties everything together. Not only does Jesus love the individual lost sinner but Jesus reveals in this last story his love for all lost sinners of every nation.
Jesus talks about a man who had 2 sons. The elder son was the heir to his father’s estate and the younger while having no legitimate inheritance was provided for by means of the Father’s kindness.
The younger son not only represents a rebellious sinner wanting his own way instead of staying in his Father’s house but also represents the Gentiles who the Lord sees as being lost, in need of his salvation. Jesus called them his sheep of another fold.
And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd. John 10:16
Eating with sinners was a repulsive thing to the religious people of Jesus’ day. Not only because they were participating in unlawful activities but because many of these outcasts were working for the Roman empire (Gentiles) and were considered by the religious people to be unclean by association.
Jesus’ parable insulted the Pharisees’ concept of righteousness. To have contact with Gentiles was a taboo thing in their law. To add insult to injury the religious people were told by Jesus that the elder son whom they knew represented the heir or Abrahamic covenant was not the only one loved by God.
The younger son represented the Gentile nations. He was loved so much that after his return the Father rejoiced by putting on a celebration.
The prodigal story is really a twofold story about God’s love for individual sinners but also his desire to restore the Gentiles to Father God.
The far country represents nations in lands far away who lived lifestyles that the elder son would find offensive. That is why Jesus refers to the prodigal son as living among swine or those who are unclean.
Jesus made known to those religious elders that love for the sinner was extended by God to the Gentile nations. This is why they were so angry. To offer the Gentiles an inheritance in God’s kingdom was to oust the religious people from their prestigious position. The religious leaders did not like that one bit.
To give a Gentile swine a robe was to give him a place of distinction along with the elder son or heir. Only a man of honor was given a robe. A common man wore only simple clothing.
A ring was also a sign of honor or prestige. Servants or slaves never wore a ring. Neither did a common man.
The fact that the Father gave the prodigal swine dweller a robe and a ring meant that he was valued by the Father.
Then the 3rd thing the Father did in completion of his celebration was to kill the fatted calf. This was another indication that Jesus was referring to the Gentile nations. A calf represents idolatry. The repentant idolater was being received by Father God. Also, to feast on a fatted calf was a delicacy in Jesus’ day. In effect, Jesus was saying that God would celebrate the return of the one who was once a sinner idol worshiper.
The religious people were totally insulted by these parables that Jesus told. Jesus referred to them as being angry like the elder son because God loves prodigal sinners and desires them to repent and become a part of his family.
Are you a prodigal far away from the Father’s house? Are you tired of your wayward life? Feeling desperate in your famine? Jesus wants you to come to him and be saved. He wants to restore you to Father God today!
Father God loves you so much that he is searching for you. Shining his light on your heart. Revealing to you your need for his love.
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you willbe saved. Romans 10:9
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.Psalm 145:18
The religious people were totally insulted by these parables that Jesus told. Jesus referred to them as being angry like the elder son because God loves prodigal sinners and desires them to repent and become a part of his family.
What does it mean to depart from the faith? To ‘depart’ in the Greek is aphistēmi which means to revolt against, remove from, desert, depart or draw away from.
You can’t depart or leave something unless you once were in something. Now its debatable whether the one who departs was once really saved or not but they had some understanding. They were enlightened. Scriptures tell us that if one has been enlightened and tasted of heavenly things and falls away it is impossible for them to repent.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Hebrews 6:4,6
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. 1 Timothy 4:1
This “departing” is departing from the faith or pistis. That is the conviction of reliance upon Jesus Christ for salvation. Instead those who depart give heed to demonic doctrines which do not rely on Jesus Christ for salvation.
Some departing doctrines are obvious to most Christians but others are very subtle. That devil is a wily one.
The main theme to look for is if the teacher or preacher, prophet or apostle, pastor or evangelist moves away from trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation. Even a teeny weeny bit.
There is no specific day of the week, no ritual or rite, no performance, no other way, no other man made book, no self help principle, no personal preference, no successful endeavor, no jot or tittle, no other name, no addition, no subtraction. NOTHING.
There is nothing that can give you salvation with eternal life but complete trust and reliance on Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
It is written.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9,10
In Mark chapter 6 (after Jesus had fed the 5000) he told his disciples to get into the ship and go to to Bethsaidia, while he sent the people away.
When Jesus sent his disciples to Bethsaidia which in the Hebrew means house of grace he went into a mountain to pray.
In the evening (when the ship was in the middle of the sea) Jesus was watching his disciples from the shore. They were toiling to row the ship, because the wind was coming on really strong.
Around the fourth watch of the night Jesus came towards his disciples walking on the sea. He would have passed them by but the disciples saw him. They thought he was a ghost. They became troubled and cried out in fear.
Immediately Jesus reassures his disciples that it is him.
Then when Jesus gets into the ship with his disciples the wind calms down.
The disciples were amazed and wondered. They had forgotten about the last miracle Jesus did by multiplying the bread and fish.
It is interesting to note that on the 4th watch of the night Jesus looks out to the sea to find that his disciples are in trouble.
He had given them a word, “Go to Bethsaidia” but the enemy (who works in the darkness) tried to hinder their assignment.
Satan who is “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) caused a storm to rise up. It was so fierce that all the toiling the disciples were doing were getting them no where.
In Israel culture (as well as Roman and Greek) the night was divided into 4 watches. Each watch had a specific name and time frame.
The evening watch, was from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The midnight watch, from 9 p.m. to midnight. Cockcrowing from 12 am to 3 a.m., and the morning watch or 4th watch, was from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Exodus 14:24 last watch of the night Psalm 63:6 watches of the night Judges 7:19 middle watch Mark 13:35Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning Luke 12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
The fourth watch is the last watch of the night. In scripture breakthrough events many times happen on the night watches.
Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea. Exodus 14:25-46
Jacob wrestled with God. Genesis 32: 22-31 The angels appear to the shepherds in the field to announce the birth of the Savior. Luke 2:8-14
Jesus is resurrected from the dead, Matthew 28:1
The bridegroom woos His bride in the night hours, Song of Solomon, Matthew 25:1-13
On this particular incident on the fourth watch of the night Jesus sees trouble occurring.
The prince of the power of the air is acting up. Trying to attack the Lord’s disciples.
Intercessors know that the fourth watch usually means warfare. It’s a time when the demonic powers are doing their oggie boogie through their human vessels.
Notice that Jesus sees on the forth watch of prayer that his disciples are in trouble.
This is one reason the Lord exhorts us to watch and pray. The enemy is always looking for a place to attack. If we are in prayer the Holy Spirit will show us trouble coming our way or someone else’s way.
When trouble comes and we find we are toiling in our own strength, (getting no where, when the enemy attacks) Jesus is walking on the water right there in front of us!
Water or waters in scripture many times represent people. Jesus is always in front of people. Always available. Always willing to calm the storm. However, many times we are so freaked out over the battle that when the Lord comes walking towards us we don’t recognize him. All we see is what the enemy is doing.
Notice how Jesus was going to walk right on by his disciples. Seriously? That’s what the scriptures tell us! That’s what happens when we are afraid. As long as our eyes are on the battle instead of the Lord Jesus Christ we will miss him, even though he is right there in front of us.
The good news is that if we look to Jesus he will calm the storm in our life. He will get in the boat with us! Jesus will calm our fears! He will rescue us from the attack of the enemy!
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water they mistook him for a spirit. They cried out in fear.
Fear can do strange things to the mind. Sees and hears all kinds of crazy things.
Even then the Lord can’t help but be merciful. When fear gets a hold of us by the throat Jesus will turn in our direction if we call out to him.
Hearing his disciples cry out in fear Jesus walks on the water towards them. When the disciples see that it is Jesus they are not afraid anymore.
Our struggles in life (like the disciples who rowed in their own strength against the wind) can be demonically inspired some times.
Facing great difficulty can be scary when it looks like we are going to drown but remember the Lord is watching us in our struggle. He knows what’s going on.
Jesus is right there in the midst of our trouble. All we have to do is cry out. He will not pass us by! He will get right in the boat with us and comfort us!
Jesus will always lead us to safely because his grace is sufficient. His word to us is always, “Go to Bethsaidia, “the house of grace.”
Our high priest ever lives to make intercession for us.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
In Luke chapter 7 of the Bible, Jesus goes to Capernaum and finds a centurion’s servant is dying.
The centurion had sent elders of the synagogue to ask Jesus to come heal his servant.
These elders told Jesus that this man, the centurion was “worthy” to be healed because of the good deeds he had done for their people. He had even built a synagogue for them.
Jesus went with these religious leaders and when he was almost there the centurion sent a message. He said, “Don’t trouble yourself to come because I am not worthy for you to come under my roof. I know that you have authority in your kingdom to make a command just as I have authority in my kingdom and it will be done. Just say the word and I know what you command will be done. ” (My paraphrase)
Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith. Now it is true that the centurion did not have to see Jesus in person to know the command of healing would be done ( which it was ) but the faith Jesus marveled at was that the centurion recognized a greater authority than the Roman world authority.
The centurion recognized this because he considered himself to be unworthy for Jesus to enter his house. The centurion recognized that the kingdom of God is greater than the authority of Rome or the world system.
The centurion saw himself as a man of worldly authority who submitted to the greater authority of the kingdom of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The centurion recognized that even though he was put in a position of prestige having worldly authority in the land, that he was considered unworthy in the kingdom of God. His position he held in the world held no weight in the kingdom of God.
This recognition of the human sin nature (being unworthy) allowed the centurion to humble himself as an unworthy person or in other words he put himself in a subservient position to a greater authority than the authority of Rome.
In other words the centurion recognized that Jesus was other worldly or from a kingdom not of this world. Therefore being familiar with athourity he knew that Jesus just had to say a word and the healing would occur.
This is the gospel message. Recognition of one’s sinful or unworthy nature, recognizing the need to be in subjection to Jesus Christ and his authority and trusting in Jesus Christ as the head of the kingdom of God with the power to save and to heal.
Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith because he knew the steps to salvation. Recognizing one’s unworthiness and inability to save one’s self and being in submission to the authority of Jesus Christ for salvation.
What about you? Are you trusting in your “worthiness” because of all the good works you have done like those religious leaders did?
Jesus marvels at the faith of the person who recognizes their unworthiness and looks to his authority to be saved and healed.
Call on Jesus Christ to save and heal you. All the authority and prestige of the world system will never get you into heaven.
Simple recognition of your inability to save yourself is the first step to salvation. Once you recognize that then you can call on Jesus Christ the King of all kings to save you from your sin.
If you do that then you can be saved, forgiven. healed and given eternal life. You will become a member of the kingdom of God!
Whoever calls on the Lord shall be saved. Roman’s 10:13
When someone offers a free gift automatically we ask, “What’s in it for you?”
Human nature is not so trusting. Most of us have not fallen off the turnip truck yesterday! Something free usually has a benefit for the giver in there some where.
I would like to point out that God’s free gift has no benefit for the giver at all. In fact quite the opposite. All the benefits go to the recipient!
What could one possibly give to the God who made everything and owns everything? Ever try to buy a rich friend a gift? Quite impossible actually. Even if you gave a home made card all you have given is sentiment. Nice to know they are thought about but still you can’t measure up. They can get anything they want for themselves!
God has given a gift to the world in the person of Jesus Christ. Everyone who puts their trust in him for salvation will be given eternal life. They will pass from death to life.
This free gift of God’s salvation is motivated by his love and is an expression of his mercy. This free gift of salvation is God’s undeserved unmerited gift.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
The gift of God is not earned! We can’t work for it! We don’t need to do penitence or any kind of work or ritual to get it. A gift is simply received! That’s it!
The great thing about receiving God’s free gift is that not only are we saved by grace or undeserved mercy BUT a part of the gift is the empowerment to live a life that pleases God! He gives us the ability by his power to endure all trials and tribulations in this world because we have the assurance of an eternity spent with him.
He provides all our needs because he is our all in all! God gives us his free gift of salvation and he takes care of us while we are in this world as well!
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me,” 2 Corinthians 12:9
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
God’s grace saves us and also empowers us to live a life that pleases him! As we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit we are blessed with God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Saved by grace is different than being saved by faith as some in error preach. They put the cart before the horse!
This difference is very important. If we are saved by faith we make the salvation experience about our own effort, our own ability, but God has chosen grace because it involves no effort on our part at all.
“For by graceyou have been saved through faith, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
If we had anything at all to do with our salvation we might have reason to boast but God has made salvation a free gift to those who receive (through faith) this gift of his mercy.
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16
Not only does God give us grace to be saved but he also gives us grace to stay saved!
Are you trusting in God’s grace through Jesus Christ for his salvation? All you have to do is ask! Turn to Jesus with all your heart for he is mighty to save!