QUEEN ELIZABETH’S TESTIMONY

A memorable week with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

In one of her Christmas addresses, the Queen said,

For me, the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to live my life.”

Something made this lady different. Different from other leaders. Different from her family. Different among men and women. The heart of that difference was the fact that she, even as the Queen, believed, served, and bowed to the living God.

Our greatest problem in the West is that our leaders believe in nothing greater than themselves. Indeed, most of us believe in nothing greater than ourselves. This is the plague on our culture.

The Queen was different.

King Charles at the vigil in St Giles Cathedral Edinborough

At the Queen’s memorial service at St Giles Anglican Church Edinborough, the following two Scriptures were read for all the world to hear. They were a great testimony provided by her even in death.

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

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.Romans 8:11

The first Scripture proves that there is only one religion that is true and the second that being born again by the Holy Spirit is essential for eternal life.

The first Scripture John 14:6 was featured again at the short service when the Queen’s casket was brought from Edinborough to Buckingham Palace. This service has been televised across the world so the message that Jesus conveyed “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” has reached many people.

Also, in light of Queen Elizabeth’s recent passing, Australian Indigenous leader James Dargin has paid tribute to her, saying he has great respect for the Queen and urging Indigenous Australians to honour her as a mother and a grandmother. In this video, he also shares his powerful testimony and the hope of forgiveness in Australia.

GOD THE SON’S ROLE IN OUR SALVATION

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the disciples were always concerned with where they’d be ruling in the coming Kingdom, but Jesus told them that they had it all wrong. Here is the Living God, Jesus Christ; the omnipotent God, telling them that: 

“even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

They thought like most of the world thinks; the greatest person is the one with the most servants, but Jesus flips that on its head, saying that:

“whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” Mark 10:44

The Apostle Peter could not be clearer about how Jesus Christ brings salvation to the sinner. Peter says, 

“that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold.” 1 Peter 1:18

All the wealth in the universe would not be sufficient to redeem even one sinner. It took the shed blood of Jesus to redeem us. There was absolutely no other way.

“the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 1 Peter 1:19

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.Hebrews 9:27-28.

Salvation was achieved by Jesus shedding His blood at His first coming to earth but at His second coming Jesus completes the task by resurrecting the dead Saints and the rapture of those that are alive with glorious new bodies.

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it, we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.Philippians 3:20-21

JESUS FINAL GOSPEL PRESENTATION

Jesus speaks at various points while on the cross. There are actually seven statements that Jesus made on the cross. Why does Mark focus on only one of those statements?

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Psalms 22:1

And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?Mark 15:34

This is the first line of Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The rest of the psalm describes prophetically exactly what is happening to Jesus as He spoke these words. In effect, Jesus gives us His personal testimony of His work on the cross, while He is on the cross. If this is the case it was not only a cry because God was far from Him in Jesus’ most desperate hour but it was the first point of a final Gospel presentation.

Anyone who knew the first line of this psalm would know that it pointed to Jesus, in fact, the psalm vividly describes His life on earth. Let’s look at the main points of the psalm and the gospel accounts of His crucifixion.

The rejection of Jesus Christ as God’s Messiah

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by people. Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads:” (Psalm 22:6–7)

Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,” (Mark 15:29)

““He relies on the Lord; let him save him; let the Lord rescue Him since he takes pleasure in Him.”” (Psalm 22:8)

He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now—if He takes pleasure in Him! For He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”” (Matthew 27:43)

The virgin birth of Jesus Christ

It was you who brought me out of the womb, making me secure at my mother’s breast. I was given over to you at birth; you have been my God from my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 22:9–10)

The persecution of Jesus on the cross

Don’t be far from me, because distress is near and there’s no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me. They open their mouths against me— lions, mauling and roaring.(Psalm 22:11–13)

Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with him taunted him.” (Mark 15:32)

Jesus is pointing to this psalm which predicts the very events that are happening to Him while they watch. In a very surreal sense, the people below are watching prophecy unfold. The fact that prophecy is unfolding that shows the Messiah must suffer to save people for eternity should make them come to Him.

Jesus must suffer

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed; my heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength is dried up like baked clay; my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You put me into the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me; they pierced my hands and my feet.” (Psalm 22:14–16)

They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing.” (Psalm 22:18)

So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it, to see who gets it.” This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my clothes among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. This is what the soldiers did.” (John 19:24)

Jesus was mocked and insulted while on the cross

I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me.(Psalm 22:17)

Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross!”” (Mark 15:29–30)

Jesus proclaims the Gospel to people around Him. He is sharing about their need for God.

People need God

I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters; I will praise you in the assembly. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! All you descendants of Israel, revere him! For he has not despised or abhorred the torment of the oppressed. He did not hide his face from him but listened when he cried to him for help.” (Psalm 22:22–24)

Jesus even predicts from the cross by referencing this psalm that the Jews will reject Jesus and the world will accept Him:

Some will reject the Messiah

I will give praise in the great assembly because of you; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear you. The humble will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him. May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord. All the families of the nations will bow down before you,” (Psalm 22:25–27)

Other people than the Jews will share Jesus

Jesus predicts the beginning of the church from this psalm:

Their descendants will serve him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. They will come and declare his righteousness; to a people yet to be born they will declare what he has done.” (Psalms 22:30-32)

The death of Jesus is only the beginning. Thankfully, the story doesn’t end with Jesus dying on the cross.

The final Gospel presentation of Jesus Christ reminds us that God’s story is not over. Just like every great story has a great ending. Every great story has “a first” line. They also have a great last line.

“The End” does not end at the cross. Instead, the cross means that there is a “To be continued. Jesus will return.” The many prophecies of His Second Coming testify to the fact that we are in the time Jesus prophesied would precede His return to rule and reign on this earth for one thousand years.

Adapted from the article “The Final Gospel Presentation of Jesus Christ”  April 29, 2019, by Jim Erwin http://www.patheos.com

DID JESUS FEAR ANYTHING ON EARTH?

The Bible tells us: “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7,

John the Beloved, said “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18,

Jesus was perfect. He was tempted in all ways as us yet without sin. Jesus embodied perfect love.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say Jesus feared. Yes, he experienced great anguish. Yes, he desired the cup to pass from Him. Yes, he felt the limitations that came with being human but He who knew no sin didn’t sin.

Often Jesus would rebuke the disciples for their worry and their fear and unbelief. He would ask them why they didn’t believe and rebuke them for not believing. He stood against their unbelief, fear, and worry.

This is why the Virgin Birth is so important. Jesus was not born with a sin nature due to how He was conceived. Without the Virgin Birth, Christ could not have been God. His conception determines the validity of His Deity. Just as His sinless life determines His qualification to be the sinless sacrifice for our sins.

As we look at the life of Jesus there is much that we can relate to. His sufferings were very clear. He sympathizes with our weaknesses and is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession on our behalf. These things are very relatable and authentic and do not tamper with his Deity.

But to say that Jesus “feared” is to say, “Jesus had a spirit in Him that was controlling Him that was not from God.”

This is not inaccurate, it is heresy. It is heretical. It is unbiblical and very damaging because of the implications it creates and the conclusions it requires regarding His Deity.

When we represent Christ to others, the Bible must be our sole authority to determine our view, values, and vernacular that we choose to help people relate to Jesus and experience a real relationship with Him.

Extract from article in patheos.com: Did Jesus Have Fear Like Us? April 14th, 2022 by Pastor Kelly M Williams

JESUS COMING MILLENNIAL KINGDOM

Christians do not rule the way the world does as the following verse outlines.

“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.Mark 10:42-44

In Revelation John, in accord with Daniel, describes the kings of the world as hybrid beasts under the control of Satan.

In the coming Millennial Kingdom while Jesus and the Saints are servant leaders sadly in a fallen world we are told they will rule with a rod of iron.

She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,Revelation 12:5 This prophecy will be fulfilled during Jesus’ Millennial reign on this earth.

From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron.Revelation 19:14

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Paul confirms that the Millennial Kingdom of God will eventually abolish all other empires before this earth is destroyed with fire then the second resurrection and the White Throne judgement when all the unrepentant are cast into the Lake of Fire for punishment and the second death.

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.1 Corinthians 15:22-26

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.Revelation 2:11

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.Revelation 20:6

Prior to Jesus coming Millennial Kingdom, we know from Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) that God allows Satan to empower the Antichrist who will rule the nations for 42 months. John confirms that the final ruler, Antichrist is empowered by Satan (the dragon).

“the dragon (Satan) gave him (Antichrist) his power and his throne and great authority” Revelation 13:2

And the beast (Antichrist) was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also, it was allowed to make war on the saints and conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” Revelation 13:5-8

In case we think that the book of Revelation is alone in portraying the kingdoms of this world as ultimately under the authority of Satan, we would do well to notice that at the beginning of the gospels Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world if He would worship him,

“the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You fall down and worship me” Matthew 4:8-9

Furthermore, Paul affirms Satan’s role as an empowering empire when he states that Satan is the “god of this age” 2 Corinthians 4:4

With regard to the coming of the Antichrist and the many scriptures warning the church about the coming tribulation, even great tribulation, “it (Antichrist) was allowed to make war on the saints and conquer them” what churches are making their members aware of the many prophecies of Jesus second coming. As I have said many times before on this website, there are far more prophecies about Jesus second coming (2,000) than there were of His first coming (300) Jesus must want you to know about His second coming and to prepare for it.

EYE WITNESS ACCOUNTS OF JESUS CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION

The EYE WITNESS Bible Series produced by Hatikvah Films is excellent and I would suggest you consider using the one titled EASTER at your Home Group. Ideally, it would have been a study prior to Easter but any time of year it is a powerful message.

The following 14-minute segment shows enough to determine if it is for you. It tells the story of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. It is described in all four gospel accounts. Only Matthew and John were present at the event, and all four gospel writers had different purposes in choosing the details of their storyline. Although the Triumphal Entry is traditionally taken to have happened on the Sunday before the crucifixion of Jesus, experts vary on the exact day it happened. John wrote that Jesus arrived in Bethany six days before the Passover, and indicates the entry happened the next day. John says that people were going to see Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

What about the pharisees and the sadducees, the religious leaders of the day, what was their reaction to Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead? There were many eye witnesses to that miraculous event.

So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.John 10:11-12

Matthew indicates a donkey and its colt were to be brought to Jesus, while the other three gospels mention only a colt. Luke indicates the colt had more than one owner. Mark and Luke have Jesus saying the colt will be unridden. All of the writers have a common goal of relating the event and the crowd’s reactions to at least two scriptures:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.Zechariah 9:9
https://youtu.be/8ijCwrJVR4A

WALKING IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

What a powerful testimony by Torben Sondergaard on the true meaning of Resurrection Sunday.

People have just been celebrating Passover/Easter all over the world, and we have been hearing the words “He has risen,” and yes, indeed He’s risen, but what does that mean for you?  Many people don’t understand what it truly means that Jesus has risen.  How does that influence your life?

Read Torben’s testimony and watch the video. You will be challenged, encouraged and some even inspired to truly start walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Torben’s Testimony

“I went to an Easter service in America for the first time yesterday.  I had not been to church on Easter in the U.S.A. before, because personally I’m not into all of those traditions, as I know its root, but I love Jesus, and I want to celebrate HIM – and we can ALWAYS celebrate that He has risen!  But yesterday I went, and it became very, very powerful! 

I saw a girl there with crutches, and I knew this was her day.  This was her day!  As soon as the meeting was over, I went down and prayed for her, and she got healed!  She got set free!  She got filled with the Holy Spirit, and her life got changed!  And I got it on video.  At the beginning of the service the priest said, “Walk in the resurrection power!”  But what does that indeed mean? 

There were a few thousand people in the church that day.  Many could have prayed for her.  Many could have set her free.  Many could have helped her, but they didn’t.  Why?  Because many don’t understand what it means to walk in the resurrection power of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We are here to help you out there to walk the life Christ has called you to.  Watch the video.”

JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

Jesus, true God, and true man was born into this world to redeem all of His people: past, present, and future.

For unto us a child is born, unto us, a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.Isaiah 9:6-7

Jesus, Christ, God, Holy, Spirit, Bible
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (which means God spoke to us).” Isaiah 7:14
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” Micah 5:2
At the time Isaiah wrote his prophecy about the coming Saviour, the people of Israel were waiting for a king—the Messiah—to emerge and sit on the throne of David. Judgment was upon Judah at the time, and the nation had barely survived.

Just when the lineage of Jesse and his son, David, seemed all but gone—cut down like the trees of Israel—this passage in Isaiah indicates that the Saviour was yet to come out of a small shoot from the stump of Jesse and that eventually, He will rule the nations.
 “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” Isaiah 11:1
And for the people of Israel, where no hope seemed to be found, God used the smallest of beginnings to sprout up a lineage that led to the birth of our Savior Jesus. The second part of the prophecy is future, at Jesus’ second coming.

The prophecy by Isaiah is just one of 300 prophecies of Jesus first coming to earth and all proved accurate. There are 2000 prophecies of Jesus’ second coming including this one and many of them have already been fulfilled, Israel’s re-establishment as a nation back in 1948 was a prominent one. Another is the increasing apostasy in the church as it compromises with world values that are against God’s moral laws.

WHAT JESUS ACCOMPLISHED FOR US

It is important to read the following two Scriptures regularly to remind ourselves of what Jesus has accomplished for us. Progressive Christianity has rejected penal substitution, seeing it as cruel and unjust, inducing self-loathing. The problem here is that they have not truly understood what God the Father has accomplished with His Son Jesus. There is no doubt that “the beginning of wisdom is to fear God” but that is not the end of the story.

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.Hebrews 12:18-24

“Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews… and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek.” John 19:19-20

What actually happened on the cross? If we put aside unhelpful traditions and consider what the Bible teaches us, there is much to celebrate.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus didn’t just carry sin, or pay for sin; he became sin. The perfect Lord of all, who humbled himself to serve his own creation, became all human brokenness. Paying for sin is one thing; becoming sin is far deeper. Jesus became every expression of human brokenness, and more than that became the cause of all human brokenness, which is judgement. His spiritual agony was so much worse than the physical pain of the cross. It is no wonder the sky darkened, as all that is good became all that is harmful.

It doesn’t stop there. Jesus became sin, that we might become the righteousness of God. In turn, this means that we become righteousness, as completely as he became sin. 

The cross, then, is an exchange – of our lack for his supply, our brokenness for his wholeness, our fear for his love, which can all be summed up as our righteousness (“filthy rags”) for his righteousness (right-standing with God, forever).

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.Colossians 2:13-15

The cross provides the forgiveness of sin, by cancelling our legal indebtedness. Sin and death were destroyed. The enemies of humankind were disarmed, triumphed over, and made a spectacle of. What a wonderful God we have.

THE MAJORITY OF CATHOLICS AND MAINLINE PROTESTANTS WILL ENDURE GOD’S WRATH

More than three years after Pope Francis sparked a firestorm of religious debate by telling a young boy that his deceased atheist father might still end up in Heaven, a new study from the Pew Research Center shows a majority of Catholic and mainline Christians also believe people who don’t believe in God will go to Heaven.

Did not Jesus say, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.

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

Catholic Church
Religious rituals versus relationship with the living God

What are the Christian leaders in these denominations teaching their congregations? What did Jesus accomplish on The Cross on our behalf? Does it account for nothing? And yet we know that without Jesus’ sacrifice our Heavenly Father could not have sent the Holy Spirit to indwell believers to sanctify us and enable us to live the Christian life.

Data for the Pew Research Centre study, conducted Sept. 20-26, was collected from a nationally representative sample of 6,485 U.S. adults.

Pew researchers decided for the first time to tackle deep philosophical questions like the meaning of life, the purpose of suffering, and why bad things happen to people. The national study was released amid a backdrop of major life-changing events for many, most notably the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed millions of lives globally.

In discussing American views on the afterlife, the study showed that majorities of U.S. adults believe in both Heaven and Hell, but significantly more believe in Heaven. Some 73% of respondents reported belief in Heaven, while 62% of respondents reported belief in Hell.

When it comes to Christians as a group, the study showed that the overwhelming majority of all Christian groups supported belief in Heaven. Protestants from historically black and evangelical churches were more likely than mainline Protestant Christians or Catholics to express belief in Hell.

And while 39% of all American adults, in general, believe people who don’t believe in God can still go to Heaven, 68% of Catholics and 56% of mainline Protestant Christians were found to hold this belief compared to 21% of evangelicals and 31% of Christians from historically black churches.