Archive for November, 2015

Daily Devotional: Prayer of the Savior for All Believers

Daily Devotional: Prayer of the Savior for All Believers

Prayer of the Savior for All Believers

Message by Wil Pounds
In John chapter seventeen we are received with our great High Priest into “the holiest of all.” “The prayer of the Savior (in John 17) rises as it proceeds… and now He reaches His crowning point – that they may be with Him where He is and behold His glory… that prayer is more after the divine pattern which, like a ladder rises round by round, until is looses itself in heaven.”

C. H. Spurgeon continues, “His prayer was in heaven, and He Himself was there in spirit. What a hint that gives to us! How readily may we quit the field of battle, and the place of agony, and rise into such fellowship with God, that we may think, and speak and act, as if we were already in possession of our eternal joy!” (Sermons Preached in 1881, Vol. XVII, p. 68-69).

In this great high priestly prayer of Jesus, we stand on holy ground as we go into the secret place of the tabernacle of the Most High.

The great reformer and companion of Martin Luther said in his last lecture before he died, “There is no voice which has ever been heard, either in heaven or in earth, more exalted, more holy, more fruitful, more sublime than the prayer offered up by the Son of God Himself.”

John Brown said, “It is the utterance of the mind and heart of the God-man… in the immediate prospect of completing, by the sacrifice of Himself, the work which had been given Him to do and for the accomplishment of which He had become incarnate.”

The hour had come when the Lord of glory was to be made sin for His people. What were His thoughts and wishes as He waited for that horrific moment when He would bear the holy wrath of a sin-hating God?

He prayed in the opening verses that His Father be glorified in our salvation. We are saved by His grace alone through faith in His atoning death. Therefore, whatever we do as His believers must be done with all our strength to the glory of God.

Jesus said in verse 24 that all believers are to be “where I am,” in heaven. Jesus was returning to His glory He enjoyed with His Father. We are to join Him there. The reason is “in order that they may behold My own glory which Thou has given Me.” One day we will gaze steadily upon the one divine glory of His attributes (1 John 3:2-3).

We cannot even, with the best of imagination realize what that glory will be. Jesus used a word meaning “to gaze upon as a spectator.” The word is used when referring to extraordinary objects of interest. The believers are to see all the wonders of the glory of Jesus with unspeakable delight. The present tense indicates “continuous beholding.” It reminds us of 2 Cor. 3:18.

We will see Him in resurrection glory. The glory we shall behold is thus the glory of the Son shining out from His exalted and glorified human nature. This beholding is the very essence of heavenly blessedness. Jesus’ words, “With Me, where I myself am” implies our transfer into heaven and into the heavenly presence of Jesus. This will be our glorification, too. It is clear that “only glorified eyes can behold in blessedness the glory of the exalted Redeemer” (1 Cor. 15:48; 1 John 3:2). Let us pray that God will sanctify our spiritual sight that we may see Jesus in all His glory (Eph. 1:17-18).

“I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am…” (John 17:24). “Dying is but going home; indeed, there is no dying for the saints.”

At a friend’s funeral Spurgeon said, “The Master is gathering the ripest of his fruit… His own dear hand is putting his apples of gold into his baskets of silver… Our ripe saints go home because the Beloved is come into his garden to gather lilies… when our friend, or our child, or our wife, or our brother is gone, it is enough that he is with the Father. To call them back does not occur to us; but rather we each one desire to follow after them.”

Jesus is not going to lose a single one of those believers the Father has given to Him. Our Lord is not fully glorified until we behold His glory. It will be our glory to see His glory. Glory apart from His is not glory. All the saints are going to see all the infinite glory the Father has given His Son. We will see this glory, and it will be our glory to see Him! Jesus so perfectly accomplished our salvation that the Father is now in us, and we are in Him!

In our vital union, “Christ is ours, and we are Christ’s; His Father is our Father; we are one with Him; He is one with the Faith; and hence all things are ours, and the Father Himself loves us… So when the Lord brings His people home, we shall be one with Him, and He one with the Father, and we shall then find boundless glory in beholding the glory of our Lord and God.”

Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come. We will meet with Jesus in His home and our home, and we shall behold His infinite glory!

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotional: Dead To Sin

Daily Devotional: Dead To Sin

Message by Wil Pounds

Dead to Sin

The apostle Paul wrote of Christ, “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:10-11).

The believer’s “old man” or “old self” is what he was spiritually before he believed on Christ when he was still under sin, powerless, depraved, ungodly and even an enemy of God.

Our fallen nature was not changed at conversion. It was not annihilated, but it was “rendered inactive, made of no effect” (Rom. 6:6). Our physical body is not sinful. It is neutral and can be controlled by sin or by the Holy Spirit. It was controlled by sin before we trusted Christ for salvation.

“In Jesus Christ we died to sin, and the old nature was crucified so that the old life is rendered inoperative.” This is a great fact for the believer to rely upon. Now that we have died with Christ the power of controlling sin is broken and is rendered powerless or ineffective (Rom. 6:3-5).

There is a change in relationship with God and sin. Because of this new living union with Christ the believer now has a new relationship with God and different attitudes toward sin. Sin is no longer his master. Christ is the new master. We no longer want to continue in sin. Now because we are in Christ we have a choicer whether we choose to sin, or choose to obey our new Master.

In our unregenerate state we were slaves to sin. Now that our old self was crucified with Christ we have been delivered from this slavery. “Anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” We have been declared righteous, “freed,” with the result that sin no longer has the legal right to force us into its slavery. Sin no longer is the master of the believer because he has died with Christ and risen with Him “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with so that we would no longer be slaves to sin” (Rom. 6:6).

Not only did Christ die for me, but I died with Him. That is my new identification. I am no longer identified with the first man, Adam, but with the Second Man, Christ. Christ paid my sin debt and broke sin’s power over me. By His substitution for me on the cross Christ charged my account with His own imputed righteousness. By identification with me He imparted or made that righteousness a part of my daily life. Justification is also a living relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a justification that brings life. I am in Christ and identified with Him and whatever happens to Christ now happens to me. When Christ died, I died. When He rose from the dead I arose in Him. It is now a fact that I am now seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:5-6; Col. 3:1-3).

The believer is “dead to sin.” “I am crucified with Christ.” In Jesus Christ we have died to the power of sin so that we no longer want to continue in sin. It is no longer our master. Before we were saved we had a cordial relationship in which we were fully yielded to and dependent upon that sinful nature. We were under the control of the power of sin. It was our habit of life. We are now alive in Christ. Christ raised us up from the dead and now we walk in the power of His resurrection. The issue is the believer no longer chooses to continue in a cordial, dependent fellowship in sin.

The death of Christ not only paid our penalty of sin, but God also used it to break the power of indwelling sin in our life.

The Christian is under no compulsion to live his life under the control of evil nature again. We remain a free moral agent capable of choosing good and evil, but it is impossible for the Christian to habitually sustain a relationship to evil which he sustained before he was saved.

The Christian now has the authority and the power to say no to sin. You do not have to obey the sin nature. You now have a divine nature you can choose to respond to which is alive in Christ. You are free to choose. You do not have to do what you do not want to do. You can be as holy as you choose to be.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotional: Dying Daily And Our Life in Christ

Daily devotional: Dying Daily And Our Life in Christ

Message by Wil Pounds

Dying Daily and Our Life in Christ

Spiritual growth is making real in our daily experience what is already true for us in Christ.

Our progressive sanctification is an ever putting off all that belongs to the old man, and putting on all that belongs to the new man in Christ.

The old nature of man in Adam has not evolved better over the last two thousand years. Has the carnal mind with its urges become so good to the Holy Spirit that we no longer need to subject it to the Holy Spirit? Undisciplined self-gratification has never been compatible with strong, vibrant, mature spiritual growth. You cannot be a mature believer and live anyway you choose. You cannot give nature all that it desires without defrauding the grace of God.

Romans chapter seven pictures every Christian’s spiritual battle in progress. Our old nature, though judged and condemned and deposed in the death of Christ is forever revolting against the sentence of death. It struggles daily to regain its lost supremacy.

The believer who is in Christ not only has died with Christ, but is bound to “die daily” with Him so long as he is in the flesh.

The two natures, at present are dwelling together, even though they are at perpetual war with one another. When one is weak the other is strong. When one loses the other conquers.

The crucifixion we have undergone as believers in Christ is personalized in our own person. The believer is “always bearing about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus.” Our spiritual battle is a spiritual intimacy with Christ against the forces of Satan. Christ began a spiritual warfare that has not ended for us (Col. 3:9, 10).

We are new creatures in Christ whose inward man is “renewed day by day.” The new man from above battles daily with the forces of evil.

The cross and the resurrection of Christ extend their influence and power over the Christian’s life until the day we are presented perfect to our Father in heaven. The development of the Christian toward perfection is always going in two opposite directions. There is the mortifying, suppressing, subjecting the natural man, and the nurturing, renewing and developing the spiritual man who lives within.

In the crucifixion of the old man we make the death of Christ our own. The carnal mind must always be delivered up to death for Christ’s sake. This is our life-long experience.

If we are to become like Christ in our daily practice we must subdue our sinful desires, behaviors and bring them under the influence of the cross.

Our sanctification is prolonged and perpetuated in our daily experiences.

We are to have the same mind of Christ. We have been judged in the person of Christ knowing that He bore our sins in His death, follow on in the path of the cross judging and mortifying all that we find in our lives contrary to Christ. Anything that is opposed to Christ in our lives must die. We must deny and die to the expression of the old life as we knew it before we become Christians. We must refuse the indulgence of the old man.

The Holy Spirit is always bringing us to the surrender of self in all its forms to the will of God.

Our Savior’s suffering is never more beautiful than when reproduced in our daily lives as we die to self, fleshly desires and unholy ambition.

However, no amount of self-denial of the old nature will make us holier, unless we are brought at the same time into a deeper intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. As we abide in Christ we walk as Christ walked.

Self-denial creates voids in our soul that must be replaced with Christ and divine affection. It is our desire to appropriate the eternal life Jesus has given us. This new life in Christ creates within the believer a hunger and thirst for more of Him. Meditation on the Word of God and contemplation of the character of Christ promotes that end. In the process He conforms us to the likeness of Christ until, we have attained the fullness of the stature of Christ, His life constantly imparted and His character reflected in our lives (2 Cor. 3:18).

Daily communion with Jesus is a certain way of overcoming sin in our lives. Our growth in grace and knowledge of Christ can never fail to promote the subjection of nature. Our natural man cannot endure the burning heat of the unclouded presence of Christ.

May our steady gaze upon Christ blind our hearts to the desires of the unregenerate life-style.

Oh, blessed day when the battle is over and we cease from our putting off and putting on and we are presented spotless in Christ “when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortal.

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily devotion: The Place of Power in Preaching

Daily devotion: The Place of Power in Preaching

The Place of Power in Preaching

Message by Wil Pounds
I have had the privilege of preaching God’s word and seeing His presence move over and audience and hundreds of listeners respond to His word. I have also preached and in humility, emptied the house. I have watched people stand in the rain and listen to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and refuse to leave until the last word was said and the last prayer was prayed. I have also to my dismay waited for people to come to church while it was raining and hardly anyone arrived.

When God takes a man who makes himself available to Him and says, “Go and preach in the power with which I have endowed you,” he wil see great and mighty things happen.

God says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

I am convinced after forty years of ministry that the power is not in the messages, or the messenger, but in the Lord Jesus Christ. The power is in the Lord. The true power lies in Christ. “Out of His mouth goes the sharp two-edged sword” (Rev. 1:16).

God does not deposit a certain amount of power in man; He retains the power in Himself. Infinite resources are found in Him alone. It is only as we make ourselves available to Him and allow Him to work in and through us that we see Him do great and mighty things.

“All power is in Jesus, and Jesus is with His people,” said Spurgeon. Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). He is here right now.

The power that brings a person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is the Word of God. It is not our performance, or imagination, personality, illustrations, or our creativity. God’s Word is the source of all power in creation and redemption. Every sermon and every Bible study are a waste of words if they are not filled with Christ’s word. We must have God’s Word and nothing else. It is not your word; it is God’s Word that changes the world and raises the dead.

The Holy Spirit takes the preached word and applies it to the heart. He melts the soul in repentance and brings a person to faith in Christ.

C. H. Spurgeon said, “People are disturbed and troubled by the real gospel: under the false gospel they can sleep into destruction. Bring out the sword: it is made to wound; let it exercise its salutary sharpness.”

The sword of God’s word cuts at sin to the very depths of the soul. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12-13).

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Do You Have Eternal Life?

Daily Devotion: Do You Have Eternal Life?

Message by Wil Pounds

Do You have Eternal Life?

Jesus Christ said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). How do you obtain eternal life? Have you experienced the real thing? What is this knowledge of eternal life?

Life eternal is God’s life in us produced by His Holy Spirit. It issues in a personal encounter with a holy God who in His grace forgives us of our sins based on the atoning death of Jesus Christ. No one can have His life and not be changed. God is holy and His Spirit makes us aware of our sinfulness and of our deep personal need of His grace. It is by His grace that we are turned to Christ who is our Savior. This knowledge occurs only where God’s Holy Spirit is at work beforehand to make it possible, and it always changes us, issuing in a heart response and true devotion to Him.

When we become aware of the true and living God we are confronted with our sinfulness and depravity as opposed to His holiness and righteousness. We are all together corrupt and He is altogether holy. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Our sin bars our entrance into the presence of a righteous God.

Have you ever been really disturbed knowing that you must ultimately deal with One in whom is no sin at all, who cannot tolerate sin in any form and who must judge it?

All knowledge of God begins with His holiness and the reality of your sin.

It is good to remind ourselves that we cannot fool God. He is always aware of who we are and what we are thinking and doing. Only the fool says, “No God!” “No God!” Nothing catches the LORD God by surprise. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

This is where the good news of Jesus Christ is so very important to us. God applies these truths to us personally. God’s free gift is eternal life to those who will respond to His free offer of saving grace.

Jesus Christ went to the cross and died for sinners. “For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for (instead of and in behalf of) the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). Moreover, “God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (v. 8).

We are without excuse because God has taken every measure to demonstrate His love for lost sinners. He has made us aware of His holiness, our sinfulness, and God’s saving grace through faith in the death of Jesus Christ.

The good news which you have just read is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. . . For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith’” (Rom. 1:16-17). Our holy and righteous God is both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (3:26). He can be so because Jesus paid our debt for sin.

Eternal life is this personal knowledge of God who has revealed Himself to us by applying these truths to us by the work of His Holy Spirit. Eternal life is to be found in this knowledge of Him in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The fullness of God’s personal revelation of Himself is found in the One who died for us, paid the price of our sin, rose form the dead, has satisfied God’s justice, and has taken up residence in our hearts through His indwelling Spirit. This is eternal life, to know Him in His saving grace.

Do you know Him? To know God in a personal, intimate, love relationship with Him is to have eternal life.

God has made provision to blot out every sin you have committed and therefore remove every barrier to His holy presence. Will you come boldly to His throne of grace knowing all your sins are under His blood? “I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10b). To know Him in saving grace is to have eternal life.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Perfect Atonement for Personal Sin

Daily Devotion: Perfect Atonement for Personal Sin

 

Message by Wil Pounds

Perfect Atonement for Personal Sin

The most important day in the Jewish religious calendar is the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). It is to this day central to Judaism even though the sacrificial system came to an end with the destruction of the temple in A. D. 70. It is the highest holy day in Judaism.

On the day of Atonement the high priest entered the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle of the wilderness, and later the temple in Jerusalem, to make atonement for the sins of the people of Israel.

The word atonement means, “to cover” the sin, and thus to “wipe out,” “to erase,” “to cover.” In doing so the sacrifice “removed” the guilt of man’s sin before God. The removal of the sin accomplished reconciliation between men and God. Perhaps this is why the Jewish rabbis called it the “Day,” or the “Great Day.”

God provided the Day of Atonement to avert His wrath for sins already committed and guarantee His presence with His people.

The sacrifice of the first goat and the sending the second one away into the wilderness to die were intended to cleanse the nation, the priesthood, and the sanctuary of sin.

Every sacrifice in the tabernacle reached its climax on that day. Something was left undone in the daily sacrifice and rituals to cover sin. Only one day of the year could the high priest enter into the Most Holy place and meet with God before the mercy seat. Only on the Day of Atonement could the representative of the people enter into this most solemn meeting place between God and man. It was only with the sacrificial blood of the animal substitute that He could enter on behalf of the people and himself.

Why this special sacrifice for sin? Jehovah God is a most holy God who will not permit sin in His presence. All of the combined offerings for sin could not provide for unknown sins. With this special sacrifice God provided for complete atonement of all sin committed during the year (Lev. 16:33). Or did it?

In reality the sacrifice of atonement on this special day did not cover all sins once and for all because it had to be repeated yearly. It was a “type” along with all of the other Jewish sacrifices of the atonement that God would one day provide by the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Our great high priest, Jesus Christ, offered up Himself in the shedding of His own blood on Calvary to atone for the world’s sins (Heb. 9:11, 12; Rom. 3:25; 5:9-10; 1 Cor. 5:7; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Gal. 3:13-14; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10; Rev. 5:9).

The death of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all that was prefigured in the Old Testament sacrificial system. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Cor. 5:19).

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ secured our “eternal redemption.” What the imperfect sacrifice of animals could not do, Jesus Christ did once and for all for all who will believe on Him.

Christ represented us in His death. He is our substitute. “One has died for all” (2 Cor. 5:14). Our representative is before the Father pleading our case with His blood (1 Jn. 2:2). God graciously provided the perfect sacrifice for our sin. It was an act of God in grace for sinful man. The death of Jesus Christ is what provides atonement for the sinner. We can come into God’s presence only by that blood (Matt. 26:28; Lk. 22:20; Col. 1:20). The atonement of Jesus Christ is once-for-all, never to be repeated.

The Old Testament idea of substitution is prevalent in the expression “for us,” “for me.” Jesus “gave Himself as a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:6; cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; Mk. 10:45). He became a “curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). The shedding of blood was central in making atonement for sin. A death occurred. Someone died for the penalty of sin (Heb. 9:22; Rom. 5:8; Jn. 1:29, 36; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).

One of the clearest expressions of the substitution idea is the unintended prophecy of the high priest Caiaphas at the trial of Jesus in the early morning hours of the day Jesus died. “It is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish” (Jn. 11:50).

It is imperative that every individual appropriate the atonement of Jesus Christ by faith. No one else can do it for you. You must put your faith in Christ as your substitute in order to be saved from sin and spend eternity with God in heaven.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

 

Daily Devotion: Privileges of the Child of God

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion: Privileges of the Child of God

 

Privileges of the Child of God

The apostle Paul makes it very clear, if we are saved, we are “in Christ.” If we are “in Christ,” He is in us and His life within us will inevitably turn us from sin to a life of righteousness.

God loved us and Jesus died for us so that we might be holy. “God saved us that we who believed on Christ, once lost in sin, might live a holy life.” This new union of the believer with Christ produces holiness.

There is no higher privilege in life than to bear the name of Jesus Christ and be known as a Christian. Therefore, because of this new relationship with Him we must strive constantly to live a holy life. We are sons and daughters of the King of the universe. God the Father claims us as His children because of the atoning death of Jesus Christ. There is no status greater than this on earth. How then do we dare act like the children of the devil? We are now “members of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:19).

Our new status as believers in Jesus Christ brings new privileges, rights and responsibilities to our lives.

These new privilege as children of God produces a likeness of Christ in our daily life.

We now have access to God. We are “no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (v. 19).

Just think about it! We who were dead in trespasses and sins have now “gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:2). We can now come to God in prayer anytime, any place, in any and all circumstances.

We have this immediate access guaranteed because of God’s saving grace. We are His children and we can go into His presence continually without any human mediator. “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6a). He is our middleman, our go between, because He alone is qualified to be that person. He brings peace, fellowship, and salvation to the sinner. The perfect God, and the perfect man is the only mediator we need. He alone gives us this perfect access to God. What a privilege is ours!

“Lo I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20). He is with us constantly, even when we are unaware of His presence. It is my prayer that I am in such fellowship and communion with Christ that He can break in upon my conscious awareness any moment, any hour, every day. “I am with you always.” What a marvelous provision!

The apostle Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Jesus promised, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14).

Because of His saving grace He has brought us into this new relationship with Him and He has provided for all our needs. He has not promised to provide all we want. Because He has promised to provide for our true needs, we can concentrate on serving other people.

The LORD God has an unlimited supply of riches in His grace at His disposal, and He is willing to give out of that supply to His children. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. . . .And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:13, 19).

Not only is He able, but He is also omnipotent and all wise. I can also trust Him not to give that which will harm me. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus is our constant Protector.

He is also constantly at work deep within our hearts to make us all that He wants us to be. He wants to produce His likeness in us so that He can use us to accomplish His eternal purposes in this world. The apostle Paul admonishes us, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Let us make ourselves available to Him so that He may make us holy and blameless in full measure. When lost people see Jesus Christ in us, and the way we live they will be attracted to Him and listen to the eternal message of His saving grace.

This privilege of being in Christ will never cease. His love for us, demonstrated at the cross will never fade. We are assured that His love will last for all eternity. Is your awareness of His love now greater than ever before?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: The Glory of God in Jesus Christ

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion: The Glory of God in Jesus Christ

What do you think God the Son would say to God the Father during the night before He would lay down His life as atonement for the sin of the world?

Imagine for a moment with me what the divine communication between God the Father and God the Son must be like. I wonder what deep conversations must take place between the members of the Trinity. The communiqué between the Godhead must be too profound and unfathomable for us to comprehend. The LORD said to Isaiah, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways . . . For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (55:8-9).

Yet, in the recorded prayer of Jesus in John chapter seventeen we are let in on this deep penetrating talk going on in the Godhead. It is exalted, holy and sublime. It is God speaking to God. This prayer is filled with simple sentences that communicate profound thought for Himself (vv. 1-5), His disciples who are with Him (vv. 6-19) and for you and me (vv. 20-26).

Jesus then is the burning bush of the New Testament on the most holy ground in New Testament soil.

This is a “warm and hearty prayer” from the depths of Jesus’ heart. It is “so honest, so simple; it is so deep, so rich, so wide, no one can fathom it,” wrote Luther.

The petition in verse one is so simple, yet so profound in its simplicity. “Father . . . glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee. . . . And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:1, 5).

Jesus speaks of His pre-incarnate glory in eternity past before He became flesh. Jesus possessed and manifested the same glory with God before He became flesh. The very essence of deity that Jesus possessed cannot be changed. “He existed in the form of God.” He was equal with God (Phil. 2:6). Jesus was and is essentially and unalterably God. That fact did not change when He took on in addition the “form of a bondservant, being made in the likeness of men” (v. 7).

The apostle Paul in Philippians 2:7 writes of the self-emptying of the outward visible manifestations of Jesus’ visible glory while in His flesh. Paul is careful to stress that Jesus did not empty Himself of His divine nature, or His essential attributes of deity. It was a self-limiting of His outward visible glory and not His deity. He limited only the manifestation of His glory that He demonstrated in heaven. He is God of very God. The self-emptying was the taking on of the form, or essential characteristics of a servant, and humbling “Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross” (v. 8). He looked like any other household servant of that day. He was fully human—fully God.

Jesus Christ retained all the essential attributes, unchangeable and unchanging essential nature of God. The essential nature of Jesus is the same as the essential nature of God. The essential form never alters and never changes. He is God.

Since that is true about Jesus then what does He mean when He says to the Father, “And now, glorify Thou Me with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee, before the world was” (Jn. 17:5)? Is Jesus praying for the restoration of His essential attributes of deity? No, of course, not, that is impossible because His deity never changed. This glory was God’s glory. However, Jesus did not manifest this gory during the days of His incarnation. He hid it behind the veil of His flesh. Jesus is going to glorify the Father in His outward visible glory as He did in eternity past. His present glory in heaven is even greater than in the past because He was obedient to the Father unto death. “Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). Every knee will bow to the name of Jesus, and every person will “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (vv. 10-11). It is obvious that this glory is the ultimate in praise, honor and glory renown that can ever be given. It is of His intrinsic worth or character. All that can be properly known of Yahweh, Jehovah or LORD is the expression of His glory.

Who is the King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
The LORD mighty in battle . . .
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
He is the King of glory (Psalm 24:8, 10).

When we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: God Brings Good out of Evil

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion:  God Brings Good out of Evil

Evil in our world is a reality every thinking person must face, but it need not be fatal to the Christian.

The fact never changes: God is good. God is omnipotent, God is omniscient and He is omnipresent. We interpret the events of the day by the known truths, not the unknown. In fact, we interpret the unknown in the light of the known.

Augustine said, “God judged it better to bring good out of evil, than to suffer no evil to exist.”

You must acknowledge that good exists for evil to exist. There can be no evil without there being good. God’s providence extends over both good and evil. Moreover, His will is absolutely good and perfect because His is a righteous God.

God has good reason for evil to exist, even though He did not create it. Evil cannot exist unless God willed it, therefore He can use it for His glory and for our good.

A false premise commonly heard in our day is because evil exists in the world there is no God. The reasoning is if God is all-powerful, sovereign, and totally good, He will not allow evil to take place.

Evil is only a problem if good exists. Only because both good and evil exists can you have a problem. If there is no God, you cannot account for both good and evil. The only basis for assuming both is because there is a moral law, a standard by which to determine both good and evil. There can be no moral law without a moral Absolute. As Ravi Zacharias observes: “If there is no moral Lawgiver there is no moral law; if there is no moral law, there is no good; if there is no good there is no evil.”

Therefore, the idea of evil should cause us to seek God in His goodness rather than to flee from His presence and deny His existence.

Why does God get all the blame for the bad things that happen? Why doesn’t He get the credit for all the good we enjoy even though He owes us nothing?

G. Campbell Morgan keenly observed: “Men of faith are always the men that have to confront problems. Block God out and your problems are all ended. If there is no God in heaven then we have no problem without sin and suffering. But the moment you admit the existence of an all-powerful, governing God, you are face to face with your problems. If you have none, I question the strength of your faith.”

Moreover, only the fool would say in his heart, “There is no God” (Ps. 14:1).

Evil, therefore, should cause us to fall on our knees and bow in humility in the presence of the Lord God. The one purpose of evil in the providence of God is to cause us to seek Him. C. S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

The God of the cross understands evil and suffering. The cross of Jesus Christ tells us that God is good and that He loves us. The cross of Jesus reminds us that God takes evil and uses it for our good. God is always in complete control.

At the cross, God was still asking the question He asked Job, “Who is then able to stand against Me? Who has preceded Me, that I should pay Him? Everything under the sun is mine” (Job 41:10b-11). God’s sovereign control is never interrupted.

The greatest example from history of God taking the greatest evil and bringing out of it the greatest good was at the cross of Jesus Christ. No one will ever experience any greater depth of evil than that exhibited at the crucifixion of Jesus. It was Satan’s best strike against God. Because of the cross, Satan was defeated. Christ rose from the grave and defeated Satan and evil. Now we can declare that God causes all things to work together for His glory (Rom. 8:28).

When God is silent, remember that He is still in complete control. We may not know the reason “why,” but the Lord knows why, and that is enough.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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