THE GOSPEL CHANGES LIVES FOR ETERNITY

These three men started 33 churches despite persecution.  Brahim, his son Wararni and his cousin Usaden, who serves as chief of his village.

Soon after hearing the gospel and witnessing the love of Jesus Christ in the lives of Christians, Brahim decided to leave Islam and put his faith in Christ. After doing so, he felt compelled to share the Good News with others in his Tuareg tribe, starting with his family.

Brahim first led his wife and seven adult children to Christ. Then he shared the gospel with other relatives, most of whom came to faith in Christ immediately.

When he shared the gospel with a tribal leader in his region, the man refused to leave Islam. However, he gave Brahim permission to continue sharing his faith in the more than 100 villages the leader oversaw. After telling a large gathering of Tuareg villagers that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life,” Brahim and another pastor led more than 400 of them to Christ in a single day.

Two of Brahim’s family members — his son Wararni and his cousin Usaden, who serves as chief of his village — soon joined him in his ministry work. Like Brahim, they both had a strong desire to share the gospel with other Tuaregs.

“The understanding I got on the day I accepted Jesus is that this work has to be my life,” Wararni said. “The work is not for me only; the work is for more people to hear.”

Since 2018, when the three men began sharing the gospel, they have seen hundreds of people come to faith in Christ each time they preach. And together, they have helped start 33 churches. VOM supports the evangelists by providing them with print and audio Bibles as well as other ministry tools.

The reason so many are coming to Christ at once, a front-line worker explained, is that the tribe has the characteristics of a close family. When members of a tribe see a leader accept Christ, they don’t question his decision.

But as word spread that hundreds of people in multiple villages were leaving Islam for Christ, local Islamic leaders grew angry. Once, a group of men came to Brahim’s house threatening to kill him and his family if he didn’t stop his ministry work. Their threats didn’t faze him, however, because he knows where he’s going when he dies. “I know if you touch me, you are declaring war with heaven,” Brahim said.

Brahim hopes to share the gospel with each member of the Tuareg tribe in his region of Niger, which covers hundreds of miles. His goal is to complete this by 2025, no matter the cost. “I am looking for 100 percent,” he said. “The objective is to take the gospel to everybody, not just a few.”

You can partner with front-line workers like Brahim as they work to advance God’s kingdom. And with any monthly gift, you will receive VOM’s Global Prayer Journal.

BEING SAVED AND BEING A CHRISTIAN

Who will live with God on the new earth and heaven that He creates for His children? This is a valid question and we know it is not only Christians. Some will be taken back, as I was when I first read this statement. However, I quickly realised that Abraham, Moses, Job, David would not strictly come into the category Christian.

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.Job 1:1

Think about the one thief upon the cross that simply asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom, What was Jesus’ response?

Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

I think therefore that the thief put his heartfelt trust in Jesus as the Messiah of God and that was enough to get him saved.

Roger Olson in his excellent article “Answer to the Question: What must a person know/believe to be saved or to be a Christian” raises the story of Paul and Silas and the time God opened up the prison doors for them. Paul stopped the jailor from killing himself as he thought the prisoners had escaped. The jailor knew there was something different about these men who had been praising God in their chains and were now free of those chains. He asked them this question.

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe on (trust) the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31

Roger makes the point that from this statement, for the jailer and his family to be saved they had to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and they must put their trust/faith in Him. This is the simple rule of faith for salvation.

To be a Christian there is more and Roger points out that Paul and Silas then went on to say:

And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.Acts 16:32

Roger’s interpretation and I have to agree with him, is that the jailer, like the thief on the cross, was saved the moment he believed on (trust) the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord. However, to be a Christian there is more, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission; repent, be baptised, and receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables believers to comprehend the Word of the Lord. He sanctifies us over time and produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. He will guide our every step if we allow Him. Therefore, He enables us to live the Christian life.

SAVED

God knows the condition of our heart and it is a heart issue that gets us saved. This Scripture from Exodus reinforces the issue of having a heart/spirit for God.

“And they came, every one whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord.Exodus 35:21-22

CHRISTIAN

To live the Christian life you must have the Holy Spirit which is given once you repent of your sins (prepared to die to your old life) be baptised (signifying death to the old life and arising as alive in Christ) at which time God the Father sends the Holy Spirit, the enabler, to be your counsellor, your teacher, and comforter. He enables you to live a Christian life.

ETERNITY

For me, this understanding gives me comfort in knowing that there will be many people who have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ who will be saved because they had a heart after God. Moreover, I am sure you like me have heard of many stories of Jesus appearing to Muslims and they have come to saving faith in Him. Jesus answered their heart cries. We can trust God to ensure that all those that should be in His Kingdom will be there.

THE HUMAN WILL

Are you saved and have eternal life? If so, it is entirely of God’s grace. Are you lost and destined for a second death? It is entirely of your own will.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. John 5:39-40

The following Scripture makes God’s position clear, He desires that all would be saved.

I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.1 Timothy 2:1-4

The human will must ever be taken into account, and never must we place the God of all grace, whose very name is Love, in the position of being the unwilling One. and we the willing.

You decide your fate: eternal life with your Saviour and Creator or a second death in the Lake of Fire.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,… Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4

LIVING ETERNAL NOW

All that is not eternal is eternally out of date,’ said C. S. Lewis. It is one of those fresh and startling comments from Lewis that made him notable.

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However, we live in a world that is increasingly moving away from God and His Instruction Manual, His Commandments. A world controlled by unbelievers that have no concept or interest in eternity. The here and now is all that matters. It appears that the Prince of the World is reigning supreme. Thankfully, God has revealed in His history book, the Bible, that He allows mankind to be dysfunctional for a time, but He calls His children to be part of the Kingdom of God and to pray that His will may eventually be done on earth as it is in heaven. Even the smallest acts of kindness that we do here on earth has eternal significance.

And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. Matthew 10:42

It is God’s bigger picture which enables us to live better in our own little picture. This is how John Wesley pictured the world: “I seek another country, and therefore am content to be a wanderer upon earth. More graphically, he wrote: ‘I desire to have both heaven and hell ever in my eye, while I stand on this isthmus of life, between these two boundless oceans’.

The Bible reveals that indeed God’s will, will be done on earth when Jesus returns to earth to fulfill the covenants He made with the nation Israel. The nation He established for His purposes. Jesus will rule and reign the nations on this earth for one thousand years. It is only after His Millennial reign that this earth will pass away. Then, after the second resurrection and the White Throne judgement God creates a new heaven and earth.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.Revelation 21:1-3

Since the Fall, this world has always been in a state of rebellion and dislocation. The result: Hitler, Marx and Mao to name a few of the madmen in my lifetime. Augustine of Hippo described unbelievers as those who are left to ‘wander in a circuitous maze finding neither entrance nor exit.’ To the lost unbeliever, Utopia is always elusive – one problem is replaced by another and yet another.

In many places there is near-panic about Covid-19 and the possibility of death. God uses catastrophes such as this to challenge unbelievers and provide Saints with opportunities to give them the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

WHICH DO YOU WALK IN AND WHAT IS YOUR DESTINATION?

Only new life in Christ equips believers to walk in the Spirit. Which do you walk in, the flesh or the Spirit? The difference on this earth is stark and even greater for eternity.

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other,Galatians 5:17

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24

WORKS OF THE FLESH

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.Galatians 5:19-21

WORKS OF THE SPIRIT

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23

The fruit of the Spirit leads to true happiness in this life and of course it leads to eternal life in the Kingdom of God, first during the transitional Millennial Kingdom and then on the new earth and heaven after the White Throne judgement for eternity.

“They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.” Rev.20:4-5

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… Rev. 21:1-

STATE OF SOULS IN HEAVEN

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.Revelation 6:9-11

These martyrs knew that God had not judged those that had killed them. They knew what was transpiring on earth. The martyrs remembered their life on earth even though they were murdered. The key to heavens joy is not ignorance to what transpired on earth but perspective.

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.” Hebrews 12:22-23

This verse indicates there is continuity of this life to the next – “righteous men made perfect”. We are the same people just relocated.

And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.Luke 9:30-31

Jesus was talking to Moses and Elijah about what Jesus was soon to accomplish and about His departure from this earth. They fully knew what was happening on this earth. For this Transfiguration event both had visible bodies.

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7

Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.Luke 15:10

Who is rejoicing in heaven over the sinners who repent surely it is the Saints in heaven, because it is not the angels. Why? Because it is “before the angels“, they are just observers. The Saints will be particularly rejoicing when it is one of their own family that repents.

Remember, this is Jesus telling us this, to rejoice over conversions on earth they must be aware of what is transpiring on earth, specifically not generally.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,Hebrews 12:1

Here we are told the Saints are a great cloud of witnesses watching us surely good reason to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,“.

Earth is centre stage awaiting earths climatic event, Jesus return to this earth. Jesus is watching closely the events that are unfolding on earth and these Scriptures would lead us to believe so are His followers even though they have not received their glorified bodies as yet.

THE WORD OF LIFE GIVES ETERNAL LIFE

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1 :1-4

What an amazing scripture. Let us unpack it. First, John tells us that Jesus was “from the beginning“. Jesus is eternal. Second, Jesus is the “word of life“. What does this mean? John tells us in the following scripture.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truthJohn 1:1

Third, John then testifies that “the eternal life which was with the Father was made manifest to us” Jesus became one of us that He might redeem us. Fourth, John says, “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you” Why? So that we might also come into “fellowship with our (Heavenly) Father and His Son Jesus Christ”. Fifth, then and only then will “our joy be complete“.

The Fourth truth is one we must all take seriously “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you” We are called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to others, and if we do “our joy will be made complete.”

Who did you share the Good News of Jesus Christ with today? Even in Lock Down which we have in Sydney, Australia right now. I still have the phone, Skype and Zoom. May the Holy Spirit guide your every step this day. May God even send an Angel to minister to some of you this day.

GATHERING FRUIT FOR ETERNAL LIFE

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.Matthews 9:37

Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.” John 4:36-38

Jesus made it abundantly clear that all of us are called to make disciples not just the clergy.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Are you gathering fruit for eternal life? Do you even think about rewards in heaven and on the new earth? And yet Jesus taught that being an obedient disciple of Christ brings its reward, even great rewards. You need to be living eternal now not just for eternal rewards but for peace and joy in this life that can only be realised when you are in a right relationship with God, with the Holy Spirit dwelling in your spirit.

Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.Luke 6:22-23

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.Romans 15:13

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.Romans 14:17

Don’t you want to abound in the hope that Paul had, as expressed in the above and following two Scriptures. I do!

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.Romans 8:18-21

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38

What role will you have in the Kingdom of God during Jesus Millennial reign on earth? What you do on earth in this life will determine that role.

LIVING ETERNAL NOW

All successful people set life goals and then stay focused to achieve them. However, very few people set eternal life as there principal life’s goal and yet any other goal is extremely short lived in comparison.

Sadly, very few parents, including many professing Christians, teach their children that eternal life must be their most important goal for life on this planet.

Jesus by way of His death on the Cross made it possible for all of us to achieve eternal life. He also made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer to enable us to live eternal life now.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.John 14:6

Jesus said, ‘I have come that they may have life (zoe) and have it more abundantly.’ John 10:10

Let us unpack these two Scriptures:

I am the way” – the way (hodos in Greek). It means the pathway, the road to the destination. For all mankind, Jesus is the way, the only way to the eternal destination of a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1).  Jesus is more than the door, He is the door and the way, the road.  Our life as Christians is to walk on that road – to be and to become more and more like Him.

The truth” – the truth (aletheia in Greek). It means the truth – not a truth, but the truth, the real truth. For us it means the truth as taught by Jesus, and by the Holy Spirit through the Apostles – all recorded for us in the Bible. The truth is the bricks and mortar of the road, the safe pathway through life.

The life” – the life (zoe in Greek) It means the life that God gives as a gift. It is the life of God Himself that He imparts to all His creation. Each living thing is given exactly the life it needs. (Bios also translated life – is the physical life we live.)

More abundant life” How will we experience Jesus’ promise of more abundant life?  The answer is in unity/union with Jesus. Jesus is the pathway and He calls us to follow Him. (akoloutheo in Greek) It means to be a follower or a companion – going the same way, on the same path.  Jesus won’t deviate from the way – but what about us? To any degree in which we deviate from His path of truth we will lose out on the abundance He promises. You lose the joy, the peace that only God can give.

Today the truth in the Scriptures, is attacked on every side. Even amongst believers and in our Bible Colleges they don’t take it to heart, deny portions of it, preferring satanically inspired worldly ideas. The world completely ignores God and His truth and is on the wrong path altogether. But even we deviate from the path, go our own way, and then we wonder why we don’t experience life more abundantly.  

Now is the moment to consider the ‘new normal for life.’  Consider, am I following my calling in Christ, to walk together with Him who is the way, the truth, the life – at home, at work or business and in every area of my life?

Consider – the teaching of John in his first letter. This is the way to walk – walk in light (the truth), walk in love (just as Jesus demonstrated), this will be a manifestation of God’s gift of life.  Paul to the Ephesians added, walk in unity – that must first be with the Lord and then with each other, putting on the new man, being led by the Spirit of God.

Living Eternal Now is about living an abundant, joy filled life which Jesus promises every believer. Living eternal now is the way Born Again believers should be living every day. Available on Amazon as a paperback and ebook.

CHRITIANS NEED NEVER FEAR DEATH

Those in Christ should never fear death. The love of God continues from temporal life through to eternal life.

The church is the only society in the world that never loses any of its members, even by death.John Blanchard

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Psalms 116:15

The death of God’s people is safeguarded, watched over, protected, and secured. Much as we safeguard something highly valuable, so God safeguards His people when they die. As Jesus protected His disciples in life, so God protects them in death.

While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.John 17:12

For He delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence He redeems their life, and precious is their blood in His sight.Psalms 72:12-14

When the wrath of God is poured out on an unrepentant world we are told that the lost will seek death but it will elude them.

And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.Revelation 9:6

If you are an unbeliever and you are reading this post I hope you will repent of your rejection of God and His values and seek to know what Jesus Christ has accomplished for you when He died on the Cross over 2000 years ago. He died to pay the penalty for your sins so that you might inherit eternal life and not fear death.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18