Archive for October, 2015

Daily Devotion: Free Salvation

Daily Devotion: Free Salvation

Message by Wil Pounds

Free Salvation

Free, but not cheap!

Your salvation is a gift freely given and received from God, but it is not cheap. It is the most expensive gift you will ever receive.

God comes and offers us free salvation. But He does not change His standard. He remains a righteous and holy God.

How could it be possible that Jesus Christ could die as a substitute for my penalty as a sinner? It is because He is the infinite God, not a sinful man, that He could die for an infinite number of sinners. Because He is God He could pay the eternal punishment for all of our sins.

Second Corinthians 5:21 tells us it was not enough that He should only die and pay the penalty of our sins, but that His perfect righteousness would be counted in God’s eyes as our righteousness. All of the pure righteousness of Jesus Christ is now available through Him to the believing sinner.

Based upon the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, God can now come and offer the great invitation to all sinners to come and join Him in heaven.

How do I know that this is absolute truth? Look at the empty tomb! Christ is alive! The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the proof that God is eternally satisfied with the sacrifice of His Son on the cross.

Now you and I can take the righteousness of God and go boldly or trembling to the scales of justice and put it over against all the perfection God has demanded and that He must demand. The balance is immediately made. The Christian believer stands before God justified. God can never have anything against you and me forever.

You are justified when you trust in that perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, rather than in your own self-righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). You will never be justified in the eyes of God if you cling to your own good works.

We can sing with great profound theology: “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” We are justified by faith alone, through grace alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

However, we are not justified by a faith that is alone. Therefore, if you really go to that cross, believing in the saving work of Christ, you will be abounding in the works of the Lord.

If our salvation is received as a free gift someone had to pay for it. Since you and I did not, who did?

The apostle Paul tells us that Jesus Christ redeemed us, not with perishable things like silver and gold, but “with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:19).

Our salvation is an expensive gift which we do not deserve and cannot merit! We were “redeemed” meaning to release, to purchase a release by a ransom, to deliver by the payment of a price. Our spiritual freedom was purchased with the great payment of the blood of Jesus Christ. Thus, the grace that saves us is not cheap.

The blood of Jesus is “precious.” It is of great value, precious to God. The most precious thing to God is the blood of His Son Jesus.

Therefore, how precious you and I are to Him!

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Power To Obey

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion: Power To Obey

Power to Obey
How many times have you herd the excuse, “But I am afraid I can’t live the Christian life”?

The badge of the true disciple of Jesus Christ is obedient faith.

Jesus told His disciples, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15).

He has commanded us to go and make disciples of every nation. And when we are obedient He gives us the power to obey His command (Acts 1:8).

He gives us Himself, and in the giving of Himself He gives us all that we need to obey Him.

The power we know we need to accomplish His will can be ours if we obey His Word. As we yield ourselves to Him He will fulfill His will in and through us. He does not ask us to do anything that He does not enable us to do.

The indwelling Holy Spirit is in us an all-prevailing source of power to obey His commands. He abides in us and we in Him. Our greatest needs are fully met in Christ and all that He provides for His people. He gives us the vitality, energy, and spiritual power to do everything God asks of us.

We are by the divine power of the Spirit of God set free to serve Him, and obey Him.

A true Christian knows the power of obedience. Christian liberty is not a license to sin it up. There is freedom in the liberating good news of Jesus Christ. But it is not a freedom to give ourselves to licentious pleasures of the flesh. It is a new freedom to serve God in righteousness (Rom. 6:12ff). He gives us the freedom to love Him with all our heart. “If we love Him we will obey Him.”

We get our freedom through surrender to Christ. We get the power to obey by obeying. We have been set free to do the will of God.

Have you ever tried to witness to an unbeliever without being in fellowship with the Holy Spirit? Our words are like dead lives fall on frozen ground during the winter. But when the Holy Spirit quickens the heart and we are in fellowship with Him they penetrate the heart of unbelief and He uses them to accomplish His purpose.

What blessed joy when He gives us power to declare the Word of God with power. We are told that He can be grieved by our unyieldedness, but we can also bring joy to Him as we yield ourselves to His control.

Jesus gave to His disciples through the gift of His Spirit the power to speak and be witnesses to His death and resurrection. The power of the Holy Spirit is the power to think God’s thoughts after Him, to speak His words to all men.

Jesus commands us to go and preach His good news. When we do He gives us His enabling power. “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

Are you spiritually anemic? Have you gone to Him in humility, confessing your sins, turning from them and making yourself available to Him to do anything He wants to do in and through you?

When He has us ready spiritually He will use us. The Holy Spirit indwells us, giving us the power to obey God. All that He asks is total obedience. The Holy Spirit is within us, and by His power we can do His bidding. We will receive His power to obey. He even gives us faith to trust Him.

Will you make yourself available to Him to do anything that pleases Him in and through you? It may scare you to death. But that is all that He asks. Don’t think up a bunch of excuses. Just say, “Here am I, send me, Lord.” And then step out trusting Him for His enabling, anointing and power. The moment you act upon what you know to be God’s will, God answers that prayer, and He empowers you to do what you cannot do in yourself. The Holy Spirit gives us the desire, ability, and power to do the will of God.

If you love Him, you will obey Him.

Love solves our obedience problem.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Finished!

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion: Finished!

Finished!

The apostle John saw what was happening at the cross when Jesus was crucified. He was an eyewitness to Jesus’ death. A few moments before His death Jesus declared, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). It is one word in the Greek and can be translated, “Done!” “Finished!” or “Completed!” The entire redemptive work of Jesus Christ was finished. The Son gave His report to the Father in a loud voice so all mankind could hear it, and then He went home to the Father having completed the Father’s will.

Jesus did not say, “I am finished.” In essence He said, “It was finished and as a result it is forever done.” “It stands finished.” “Done.” The idea is that of perfection, accomplishment, relief, satisfaction, and victory.

All the accumulated sin, and guilt, of all men, of all time, guilt of all time, including the combined hells of all who have offended God, was paid in full by His death.

The death of Jesus Christ completed the redemptive work. The Lamb of God has made His great sacrifice for the world. It is this that is now done. Our great Substitute paid the great ransom, paid it to the uttermost cent. “It is finished” indeed! There is nothing that can be added to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Our atonement was completed in the moment of Christ’s death for our sins. All of the righteous demands of the law of God against our sins were paid in full and satisfied in His sacrifice for sin. The punishment of our sins and the satisfaction of the righteousness of God meant that God was now free to offer the believing sinner His own perfect righteous standing before God based upon grace alone (2 Cor. 5:21).

At the heart of the death of Jesus Christ is our atonement. The payment was paid in full. God declared, “It is finished!” You and I can never make satisfaction for our sins, no matter how religious we may think we are. You and I can never contribute to our salvation in the least degree. “It is finished!” We cannot add in the least or the greatest thing to His finished work. You cannot atone for your sins committed before or after baptism. You cannot atone for your “temporal” sins. You baptism will not save you. Only God can forgive sins. Only the death of the perfect Lamb of God can cover your trespasses against God. The moment you add one thing to the finished work of Christ you destroy it. To require the sinner to contribute to his own salvation in some measure only contributes to his eternal damnation.

The satisfaction of Christ is the only satisfaction for sin. The perfect sacrifice of Christ is so perfect and final that it leaves no possible liability for any sin of the believer.

“It is finished!” declared Jesus Christ. “Finished!” Done! Complete!

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain;
He washed it white as snow.

The apostle Paul declared, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

Have you experienced that deep sense of peace with God? Do you know all your sins are forgiven? No condemnation! We have already been judged for our sins at the cross and Christ died for us. We were condemned. We were declared guilty and Jesus drank every drop of our condemnation and died for us. “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (v. 8). The believing sinner has “now been justified by His blood” (v. 9a). “We shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (v. 9b).

The reason for this great assurance of salvation is the redemptive shedding of His blood, done once for all, is finished and stands finished forever (Heb. 7:27; 9:12, 16; Rom. 6:10). “It is finished!” shouts Jesus our Savior.

Have you confessed to God that you are a sinner and that you deserve eternal condemnation? Have you believed in the death of Jesus and what He accomplished for you in that death has satisfied the righteous requirements of God to save you for all eternity? It is not what we bring in our hands; it is what Christ has done in His hands that save us.

The only thing left for you to do is believe on Christ. The finished work of Christ is absolutely sufficient to save you and keep you saved.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: A Christian Witness To The Whole World

Daily Devotion: A Christian Witness To The Whole World

Message by Wil Pounds

A Christian Witness to
the Whole World
I am involved in something that will still be worthwhile a million years from now because God has not revoked the great commission.

Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come” (Matthew 24:14).

Today the kingdom of God is realized as we proclaim the crucified, risen, and returning Lord Jesus Christ.

The gospel is the good news of the kingdom of God that has come in the person and work of Jesus Christ. How do we enter into the kingdom of God? There is only one way. “Repent of your sins and believe on Jesus Christ.” That is the message we preach.

Our message is the gospel of free grace. It is what God has accomplished for us in the sacrificial substitutionary atoning death of Jesus Christ for our sins. We offer the gospel freely “without money and without cost” (Isa. 55:1).

John Ryle once said, “Men are apt to forget that it does not require great open sins to be sinned in order to ruin a soul forever. They have only to give hearing without believing, listening without repenting, going to church without going to Christ, and by and by they will find themselves in hell.”

It is imperative that we make the message of salvation crystal clear in our presentations. Salvation is the gift of God and it is “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves.” God has provided everything we need in order to be saved. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). But also be assured, “Reject Jesus Christ, and you will perish forever.”

Every time we share that message we are personally involved in what God is doing in building His eternal kingdom.

What can we expect as we take the gospel out of self-edification and share it with others? We can prepare for and accept hostility from some listeners (Matthew 10:16-18, 21-25). There will be men who “will deliver you up to the courts, and scourge you in their synagogues, and you shall even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles (v. 17). The history of Christianity is the history of persecution and martyrdom for the cause of Christ. More people have been persecuted and died for Christ during the last hundred years than in the previous two thousand years.

We can expect God’s power and sustaining grace to meet all of our necessities as we take the good news to a lost world. Jesus said, “When they deliver you up, do not become anxious about how or what you will speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what you are to speak” (v. 19). Those are instructions for martyrs and Christians under persecution, not preachers getting ready for Sunday morning without doing their homework. The Holy Spirit gives boldness to testify under all circumstances for Christ. “For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (v. 20). Success in personal witnessing is simply sharing Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and then leaving the results up to God.

Our job is to be faithful to Christ under all circumstances (vv. 26-27). The only person we are to fear is the LORD God “who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (v. 28). The worst thing a man can do to us is to kill the body. But “for me to live is Christ and to die is better yet” (Phil. 1:21).

The Lord is sovereign in His kingdom (vv. 30-33). There is nothing that can happen to His faithful servant who is not fully known to Him. Whatever we experience as His servants is fully known to Him and happens ultimately for our good and His eternal glory. The responsibilities are great for all believers (vv. 34-39).

However, the rewards of being faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ are eternal (vv. 40-42). “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. . . . And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward” (vv. 40, 42).

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Backsliding

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion: Backsliding

Backsliding

Have you ever temporarily lapsed into unbelief and sin after you became a Christian? The condition of backsliding results from spiritual apathy or disregard for the truth of God’s Word. It results in a departure from a winsome confession of faith and Biblical ethical standards. Actions are affected by our attitudes toward God and His Word.

Jesus said, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).

Backsliding is different from apostasy, which spurns the grace of God by renouncing the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-31). When a person renounces his faith in Christ that person was never a true child of God, and never was among the elect of God (John 3:18-21, 36; 5:24-29).

On the other hand, the elect individual, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and redeemed by God has been delivered once-for-all from the bondage of sin. Backsliding is not a “fall from grace” in the sense that a Christian once saved by grace can lose his eternal life in Christ. He is God’s child forever, and He has placed His life in the believing sinner.

There were times when the disciples of Jesus withdrew from fellowship with the Lord (Matt. 26:56), Peter denied Christ (26:69-75), Corinthian believers lived in sin (2 Cor. 12:20-21), the Church in Asia became lukewarm (Rev. 2:4, 14-15, 20), etc.

The people of Israel serve as an example for Christians today. We are exhorted to persevere in righteousness and doing the will of God. Israel forsook her covenant with the LORD God (Jer. 2:19; 8:5; 14:7), and demonstrated her unfaithfulness by disobeying God.

In the New Testament backsliding is viewed as an individual problem, although it is possible for churches to become backslidden, too.

Why do Christians become backslidden? We all still possess the old nature that is “corrupt through deceitful lusts” (Eph. 4:22; Rom. 7:13-24; 1 Cor. 3:1-3). Lack of continuous fellowship by “abiding” in Christ results in a lack of spiritual vitality and ineffective Christian service (Jn. 15:4-8). There is no other way to live the Christian life except by maintaining an intimate fellowship with our Lord. If we do not maintain that vital contact with Him we cannot sustain spiritual growth and effectively minister in His name.

Unbelief (Heb. 3:12), bitterness (12:15), love for the world (2 Tim. 4:10), love for money (1 Tim. 6:10), adherence to worldly philosophy (Col. 2:8), legalism (Gal. 3:1; 1:6; 5:7), indifference and spiritual coldness (Rev. 2:4; 3:16) are other causes for backsliding.

Backsliding grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30), and it displeases our Lord (Heb. 10:38). There are natural consequences that follow this sin (Lev. 26:18-25).

How can we prevent backsliding in our spiritual life? It is essential that we “abide” in Christ (Jn. 15:4-7), remain spiritually alert (Eph. 6:18), put on the full armor of God (v. 10), be prayerful (1 Thess. 5:17), etc. Seek to love the Lord God with all your mind, heart and personal being every day.

We can thank God that He patiently perseveres with His saints. Just as we are to persevere in doing His will, we can be thankful that He has made a wonderful covenant with us in the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. The grace of perseverance is one of the great benefits of the atoning death of Jesus Christ for our sins. The solution for backsliding is found in the abiding love and mercy of our God of grace who remains faithful to His promises.

Backsliding is serious business. Martin Luther well said, “The offenses given within the church are greater than those given among the heathen because when Christians degenerate, they are more godless than the heathen.”

We have a choice. We can progress or regress in our Christian life. We have a great responsibility in how we choose to live the Christian life. God is able to strengthen and progressively sanctify the Christian if we cooperate with Him (Heb. 3:12; Phil. 3:10-16).

The promise to every backsliding Christian is to, “Return to Me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 3:7). Acknowledge your sin, turn from it, trust in the Lord for forgiveness and ask the Holy Spirit to take control of your mind, heart and daily life. Jesus says, “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent” (Rev. 2:5).

It is reassuring that the Bible clearly teaches that the truly spiritual regenerate can never be lost. We are his forever children. Once his child by the new birth, always his child. However we can lose our fellowship with God and our effectiveness in Christian service. The God of all grace has provided a bar of soap; let’s use it often (1 John 1:6-10; 2:2).

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily devotion: How Can A Person Please God?

Daily devotion: How Can A Person Please God?

Message by Wil Pounds

How Can a Person Please God?
“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).

We can state the same truth by answering the question, how can man please God? The author of the Epistle of Hebrews in chapter eleven gives a list of people who did please God.

“By faith Able offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain . . .” (v. 4).

“By faith Enoch was take up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God” (v. 5).

“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household” (v. 7).

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going” (v. 8).

“By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise . . . for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (vv. 9-10).

“By faith even Sarah . . . considered Him faithful who had promised” (v. 11).

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac . . . He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type” (vv. 17, 19).

“By faith Isaac . . . . By faith Jacob . . . . By faith Joseph . . . . By faith Moses . . . . considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward” (vv. 24, 26).

The list goes on and on of men and women who pleased God, “who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection, and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment” (vv. 33-36).

And there was a price they paid for their faithfulness. “They were stoned, they were sawn into, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword . . .” (v. 37).

The writer of Hebrews tells us what was common of them was they, “All died in faith, without receiving the promises . . .” (v. 13). “And all these having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (vv. 39-40).

The last two verses are absolutely amazing. They all obtained a testimony “through their faith,” yet they “did not receive what was promised (lit. the promise).” The reason they did not receive it was “because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”

What was “promised”? Jesus Christ the Messiah! That is what the whole book of Hebrews has been about. They all looked forward by faith to the coming of Jesus Christ. We look back upon Him by faith. Those who walked by faith and pleased God received the fulfillment of their promises “in the fullness of time” when God provided His Son (Galatians 4:4-6).

Faith that pleased God is connected to Christ. It is a vital union with Christ. Do you have faith in Him? Have you come to Him saying, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling”?

How can a person please God? There is only one way. Faith alone in Jesus Christ saves. “None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good.”

The very essence of true faith is leaning upon Jesus Christ. It is a personal trust in His saving death that saves. Just knowing that Christ died for sinners will not save you. It is not enough just to know Jesus Christ is a Savior. I shall be saved by believing that Jesus Christ died for my sins. Jesus is my refuge, my trust; He is my Savior. I cast myself on the promise of the word of God that all who call upon Him for salvation will be saved. It will save you to trust, believe, rely upon Jesus Christ to be your Savior. The way to please God is simply to believe in Jesus Christ. Have you faith in Him? Do you believe on Jesus Christ with all your heart? Do you have saving faith?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion: Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
“The fellowship of the Holy Spirit” is a blessing for all believers in Christ (2 Cor. 13:14; Phil. 2:1).

We do not need any new baptism of the Holy Spirit to enjoy this blessing. All things are ours in the Christian life when we believed on Christ and received Him. The apostle Paul tells us we are heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. Every believer has received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit from the moment he believed on Christ. The baptism of the Spirit placed us in the body of Christ. We can now enjoy the communion of the Holy Spirit.

The only thing that can now mar this fellowship with the Holy Spirit is unconfessed sin. We abide in communion with the Spirit of God as we abide in the finished work of Christ on the cross. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NASB 1995).

We live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, which is the fellowship or communion of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The fellowship of the Holy Spirit is so important that to blaspheme Him is to suffer eternal judgment. Every other sin can be forgiven with the exception of speaking evil of Him (Matt. 12:31-32). To blaspheme the LORD God was punishable by death in the Old Testament (Lev. 24:15, 16). In the New Testament to blaspheme the Spirit results in eternal judgment. To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is to blaspheme against the very essence of the Spirit of God. It is a sin against the constant striving of the Holy Spirit for us to repent and believe on Jesus Christ. It is a defiant attitude until the very end of this life.

The fellowship with the Spirit is so important because we are united to Christ in the bonds of the Holy Spirit. We communicate with Him and He with us. He is our teacher and guide. He leads us. He is our advocate within who interprets the desires of our heart and the will of God. He gives us the power to do the will of God. He convicts us of sin and exhorts us to go to the cleansing fountain.

Our fellowship with the Spirit is of utmost importance because He seeks partnership with us in life and ministry. His resources are unlimited, inexhaustible, and His power is invincible. He longs for our intimate fellowship with us. He longs to be admitted to the inner life of the soul.

However, there are attitudes, reservations, interests, unbelief, prayerlessness, selfish-ambitions, arrogant pride, anger, bitterness, etc. that grieves and quenches His work.

When we are in agreement with Him the personality of the believer is quickened and sanctified. Our desire is to be in constant fellowship with Him.

When we cooperate with Him He comes to give us a daily life that overflows with the fruit of the Spirit. When we are in agreement with Him there is His power operating in and through us. Ministry becomes a daily adventure with Him at the helm. Our empathy for the needy are deepened and enlightened. Our compassion for the lost soul is strengthened and we pray with passion that they will be saved. Ordinary Christians become empowered when clothed with the Spirit of God.

The fellowship, joint-participation, partnership and communion, with the Holy Spirit is communion with the LORD God. It should affect everything we do in our Christian life and ministry.

True spiritual unity comes from within; it is a matter of the heart, and is based on this relationship. That is why Paul in Philippians 2:1 appeals to believers on the strength of this unique relationship with the Spirit. We could translate “if” with “in view of the fact that,” or “since” you enjoy this “fellowship with the Spirit” as a result of the Spirit’s permanent indwelling ministry (1 Cor. 6:19). This may refer, however, to fellowship that comes from the Holy Spirit, just as encouragement comes from Christ and comfort comes from love.

Let us not neglect the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit in life and ministry.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Follow the Leader

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion: Follow the Leader

“Follow Me!”

Those two words together form a command found thirteen times in the Gospels. Jesus used those two simple words when He called Peter, Andrew, James and John to be His disciples (Matthew 4:19). “And immediately they left their nets, and followed Him” (v. 20). Jesus called the tax collector Matthew in a similar manner. Jesus said to him, “Follow Me!” “And he arose, and followed Him” (9:9).

The words mean immediate detachment from personal interests and attachment to Christ. Implied in the call of Jesus was a turning from sin to Him in order to be saved.

Even after Jesus had risen from the dead, while the disciples were on a fishing trip, Jesus told Peter, “Follow Me!” (John 21:19). There are many references to individuals following Jesus.

But these words were not just for the twelve disciples; they are also for us today. Discipleship means following Jesus in a personal way.

“Follow Me!” is a call to obedience. It is no mere invitation, but an imperative command. Those who heard the words of Jesus immediately left everything to follow Him. It was a costly decision for James and John because “they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him” (Matt. 4:22). Matthew left his lucrative tax business.

There is no genuine Christianity without obedience to Christ. The rich young ruler heard the call and realized that Jesus was his rightful Lord and Master, but he refused to follow Him. The true believer enters into a life of obedience to Christ.

On another occasion Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). They are in the habit of listening to His voice and following Him. Earlier in the chapter Jesus used the illustration of the Palestinian shepherd who calls his sheep and they hear his voice, and they go out following him because they know his voice (vv. 3-4). However, they will not follow a stranger because they do not know the voice of the strangers (v. 5). Jesus gives “eternal life to them” that follow Him, “and they shall never perish (double negative—not perish, never); and no one shall snatch them out of My hand” (v. 28). If you have a tendency to doubt such great spiritual truth Jesus went on to say in the next verse, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (v. 29).

Who are you following? Are you following Jesus or some other religious teacher? Are you following Jesus in obedience to His teaching?

Jesus calls sinners to follow Him. He does not come to call the self-righteous, but sinners to follow (Matt. 9:13). He treated all men as spiritual in essence, sinning in experience with the possibility of being saved by grace. He knew human nature, and He knows us individually. The physician is never with the healthy, but with the pathological. His call is a call to repentance. He comes and He finds people living in sin and He bids them come and follow Him. A sinner cannot follow Jesus without a radical change in the direction of his life. To repent means a change of mind that affects a change in one’s life. It is impossible to follow Christ without repentance. We must turn our back on sin and set our face toward the righteousness of God in Christ. No one can follow Christ without repenting.

Charles Spurgeon said, “They come straightway; they come at all cost; they come without a question; they come to quit old haunts; they come to follow their leader without stipulation or reserve.”

That is the only way we can respond to His call for us to “Come and follow!” It is an act of simple trust in Christ. It is impossible to follow Him without trusting Him. If we do not follow we are not committed to Him. We are following our own goals or someone else’s. The call to “Follow Me!” means we will submit to His lordship.

In deed, “When Jesus bids a man come and follow, He bids him come and die.” You cannot follow Jesus without dying to self. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny self, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).

Come, “Follow Me!” Will you follow Jesus in a life of obedient faith?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Faith’s Object: Jesus Christ

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion:Faith’s Object: Jesus Christ

What is the object of my faith? What am I to believe in to receive the gift of eternal life and live with God in heaven? What must I do to be saved?

The object of faith for the sinner is Jesus Christ. We receive “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe” (Romans 3:22). We are “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (v. 24).

Jesus Christ alone is the object of your faith for the forgiveness of sin. On nothing else can you trust to have all your sins pardoned.

God is a just God, and He must punish sin. God at the same time is merciful and wills to pardon and forgive those who believe on Jesus Christ. How can He be just and exact the penalty for sin? How can He be merciful and accept the sinner? How can He be just and at the same time justify the believing sinner?

The Biblical solution to our sins problem is substitution, which is essential to God’s plan of salvation. God looks upon Jesus Christ as though He had been all the sinners in the world wrapped up into one. The sins of His people were taken from their persons and actually laid on Jesus Christ when He died on the cross. God in fiery judgment met the sinner and punished Him. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). God poured out His wrath against sin on His own Son. Christ was not the actual sinner, but the sins of all His people were all imputed to Him. They were charged to His account personally and spiritually. The justice of God met Jesus Christ on the cross as though He had been the actual sinner. Jesus received the punishment for His people’s sins. God extracted from His Son the last atom of the penalty for our sins. He drank the last drop of judgment against us.

Today we look upon Jesus Christ as our substitute who died in our place. We put our trust in His saving work for us. We are delivered from the curse of the law because Jesus died for us. Jesus Christ has paid the wages of sin in full.

Jesus was the “just” dying for the “unjust.” He was the “righteous” one dying for the “unrighteous.” Jesus Christ is the vicarious substitutionary sacrifice dying for the sins of all those who will trust Him for the remission of their sins. Jesus endured once and for all the punishment for our sins. He has put away our sins forever by the sacrifice of Himself on the cross.

Therefore, the object of our faith must ever be in Jesus Christ. Saving faith can never be in ourselves because we are sinners, already condemned and under the judgment of God. A person dead in trespasses and sins cannot offer God anything to merit salvation.

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (v. 8). Therefore, God now offers us His free gift of salvation. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23).

The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses the person who puts his faith in Jesus. The waters of baptism cannot wash your sins away. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. If the blood of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, cannot cleanse us of every sin surely water cannot. Trust in the blood and the righteousness of Jesus Christ to save your soul. Nothing else will do.

The object of the sinner’s faith must be Jesus Christ who is the substitute for sinners. The sinner has no other plea but the blood of Jesus that was shed for him. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and because we are sinners, we qualify. We come confessing ourselves to be sinners and trusting Jesus Christ alone and His atoning death alone to save us. We come with nothing in our hands but the cross of Jesus and His redeeming blood. Jesus and Jesus alone can save your soul. “Wash me, Savior, or I die.”

Believe on Jesus Christ and His blood will make you clean. It is not faith in Jesus Christ plus baptism. It is not faith in Jesus Christ plus church membership. It is not faith in Jesus Christ plus your good works. It is not faith in Jesus Christ plus anything you do. It is faith in Jesus and His saving grace alone that will save your soul. Put your trust in Jesus and you shall be saved.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Links: