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The Gospel of Suffering

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8, ESV)

reprinted from The Scholars Corner

There is a Gospel of Prosperity going around that is true in part but which the “unstable twist to their own destruction.” The problem with the emphasis on prosperity is that it is unbalanced when there is no recognition of the role of suffering in God’s plan for our lives. We see that even Jesus, though having never sinned, was made perfect through suffering. If he was perfected by suffering, can we expect any less for ourselves?Christ Crucified

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:7–10, ESV)

Now it is true that God wants us to prosper:

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 2, KJV 1900)

But we may want to ask first, what does it mean to have your soul prosper? My definition of material prosperity is “having everything you need to do what God has called you to do.” That is not about money, it is about the means to accomplish God’s calling on your life. Do you think God wants you to fulfill your destiny? Then, Yes, he wants you to prosper. So, if material prosperity is the means or the tools by which you offer service to God, that is one thing. But the prosperity of your soul is an entirely different matter. And this scripture implies that material prosperity and health are tied to the prosperity of your soul.

So, how does God prosper your soul? You may not want to hear this, but he often prospers your soul through suffering. In fact, he may cause suffering to perfect you in love like he did Jesus! Now, I am not talking about physical illness. Jesus never gave someone a disease and said “this is so God can teach you something.” Rather he healed everyone who came to him, and since Jesus is the perfect image of the Father, he represents the Father’s perfect will for his children. Jesus proclaimed healing as a sign of the kingdom (dominion/rulership) of God (Luke 10:9). If healing is a sign of God’s will being done on earth, then sickness is part of the devil’s will to “kill, steal, and destroy.” It happens where God’s dominion is not fully established, but it is not God’s will.

No, the suffering I am talking about is persecution, rejection, perhaps even physical pain at the hands of others, and death:

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it” (2 Timothy 3:12–14, ESV)

Why would God use persecution and suffering? Suffering can make us more like Jesus. How does that work? When Jesus was faced with the crucifixion, he prayed to God to get out of it.

“…saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’” (Luke 22:42, ESV). Jesus was able to surrender his own will, wants and desires to follow the will of the Father. It was not easy, but he learned through sacrifice and in that perfect submission, he was “made perfect.”

We also struggle to do God’s will and not our own. We too must learn to sacrifice our self-will.

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:16–17, ESV)

We all deal with the problem of self-interest and the desire to protect ourselves. But how is love perfected in you if you always get your own way? It is only when your will is crossed and you don’t get your way that you learn to love beyond yourself. And how will you learn to love your enemies unless you run into them?

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also… And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” (Luke 6:27–33, ESV)

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:46–48, ESV)

Can your soul prosper from persecution? Yes. Think of those being put in prison in China for their faith, or those being murdered in Islamic countries for their faith… Are they not prospering in their souls for their faithfulness to Jesus? So, it says in Revelation of the martyrs:

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (Revelation 12:11–12, ESV)

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11–12, ESV)

What I am saying is that God uses suffering to conform our character to the likeness of Jesus. By learning to love those who hate you, and by learning to not respond in kind, our rough edges of selfishness are chipped away.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:28–29, ESV)

I was a pastor of a rural church in Pennsylvania. I tried to keep everyone happy and if people were unhappy, I thought there was something I was doing wrong. I had some insecurities and felt I had to defend myself from rumors and gossip. What I did not realize is that I had a “man-pleasing spirit.” One day, the Lord asked me “Wouldn’t you lay down your life for my children?” I resolved to participate in a non-violent sit in at an abortion clinic. The church, upon hearing of my participation, promptly asked me to resign. I knew I had done what the Lord had asked, so the people were not upset with just me, but with the Lord as well. From that time on, I no longer cared what others thought of me. I knew I had done with what God had asked, so they had a problem with God, not me. Before, I would say, what’s wrong with me, but after that I would say, what’s wrong with you? That man-pleasing spirit was broken. God used the rejection of an entire church to heal me of my need for man’s approval. Don’t get me wrong, I still like approval, but I don’t need it. Also, through this process, the Lord taught me how to forgive a lot of people.

We are being conformed to the image of Jesus by God’s plan for our lives, even when that includes rejection by, or suffering for, others. Jesus loved those who hated him and if we are to become like Jesus, we are to learn to do the same.

Just as Jesus suffered to redeem us all, God might also use your suffering to reach others by your example with the love of Christ. Suffering for innocence’s sake may cause the conscience of the abuser to be pricked, or it may cause those standing by to have sympathy for you for the injustice. If you respond with the love of Jesus towards the oppressors, it may work to their salvation. Isn’t it worth it to lay down your life so that another may not face eternal judgement? How great is your love? If you can love like Jesus loved, is not your soul prospering even while you suffer?

Another way God uses suffering, distress, and difficulties in our lives is to teach us to turn to Him and learn to trust him in all circumstances as the Sovereign God over our lives. This happened to Paul. You would think an apostle did not have to learn that, but not only was he persecuted, he also despaired of life itself:

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” (2 Corinthians 1:8–10, ESV)

When we cannot control our circumstances and when things get out of our hands, we have no choice but to turn to God and cast our cares upon Him, because nothing else is working. This can be a loss of a job, divorce, children turning away, or the death of loved ones. We are not masters of the universe, and despite our best efforts, we are not in control. At such times we recognize our mortality and dependence upon God as Sovereign of the universe, and if things are out of our control, they are not out of his. That is not to say that everything that happens is God’s will, because people are evil and do things that God does not will, but it is God’s will for us to respond with forgiveness towards others and to turn to Him in times of turmoil.

Most of the examples of suffering in Scripture say that we will share in the fellowship of Jesus’ suffering when we endure rejection and persecution for the sake of His Name. The question for us is: are we willing to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow him? Jesus said unless we are willing to do that for him, we cannot be his disciples.

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34–38, ESV)

Suffering causes the character of Christ to be formed in us. By it we learn obedience and to sacrifice our selfish ways, we learn to love others, even those who hate us, and we learn to trust God in all circumstances. By it, our souls prosper as we reflect and magnify Jesus through our lives. Such prosperity may lead to material wealth, or it may lead us to prison. But in any case, it will lead us to great rewards in heaven, including the gratitude of many souls saved through our labors, if we remain faithful. And that is a prosperity that will never end.

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Transgenderism is a Religion and its Enforcement Violates the First Amendment.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

The attempt to force a transgender ideology upon schools and governments is a violation of the First Amendment in three ways.  

First, it is an attempt to establish a religion. Transgenderism is a belief that is not upheld by science. A person claims to be transgender by identification, which is an mental or emotional attachment to an idea. The person who claims to be a female, but is in fact a male, is denying the scientific fact of biology, genetics and DNA. Whatever they may “feel,” it does not make it a fact or true.  I may feel like a 6-foot Chinese woman who is excellent at basketball. I may identify myself as that, but it does not make it true. It is a belief system, an ideology, and mental/emotional feeling.  Since it is not based in the fact of biology, it is a belief system, and hence a religion.  In addition, mutilating the body and taking hormones does not change the DNA or genes of biology; any more than cutting off one’s leg makes one a donkey.

Therefore, for the public school system or the state to impose such a belief system on the community, it is a violation of the establishment clause, and creates a religious test for employment.

Second, the attempt to force others to conform to some complex forms of “politically correct” speech, is a violation of the second clause by prohibiting the free exercise of religion, as well as third, suppressing the freedom of speech by refusing to allow people to speak correctly of scientific facts, but forces them to verbally uphold an ideology or religion.  

The move to control people’s speech to fit an ideology is more than just an attempt to create respect; it is an attempt to enforce endorsement of a belief system. Therefore, it is a violation of the religious freedom of teachers, state workers, and the public at large; and it is not acceptable under the terms of the First Amendment.

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Chinese Persecution of Christians

“The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers”

The Chinese government has become increasingly totalitarian, demanding that the Christians put loyalty to the state above loyalty to God. What is going on with Xi and the communist party is starting to remind me more and more of the Empire and him as Darth Vader in Star Wars.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/china-orders-churches-to-promote-the-chinese-communist-party-or-else_3197447.html

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Being Made Righteous by God

from The Scholars Corner

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17–21, ESV)

Since, therefore, we have now been made righteous by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” (Romans 5:9)

A little exercise of confession:  you are God’s righteousness.

Confession of Sin: Father, I have sinned against you in thought word and deed, _(confess silently whatever your conscience bothers you about now)  __  Father please forgive me.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, ESV)

If you have been cleansed from unrighteousness, what does that make you??

REPEAT AFTER ME:  I have been made Righteous by the Blood of Jesus. I have become the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. Therefore,  I AM Righteous.

How do you FEEL??? Do you feel righteous? Or like a sinner?

If He says you are righteous, you are! For whatever God says is: He said light be and it was. His Word cannot come back to him void. It doesn’t matter how you FEEL. You many not feel righteous, that doesn’t matter. You are his righteousness in Jesus Christ.

Who Lives in You?

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, ESV)

Did God give you a dirty Holy Spirit? Or did he breath into you His HOLY Spirit. Who lives in you? Is God righteous? If he who is righteous lives in you, what does that make you? Not in your flesh but in your spirit? Your new nature; your new man?

The Battle is in the Mind and for the Mind.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, ESV)

The Devil constantly lies to you and tells you that you are not righteous, that Jesus’ work on the Cross and his blood had no effect on you. He reminds you of your past. He wants to rob you of your relationship with Jesus so that you will be ineffective.

And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”” (Hebrews 8:11–12, ESV)

If God doesn’t remember your sins, for those of you in Christ (born again), they don’t exist. Jesus became your sin on the cross. In God’s eyes, your sins never happened. They were placed upon Jesus AS IF He had done them!  You have nothing to be ashamed of before God. You are declared innocent of all charges. You are HIS righteousness for His Glory! He has made you the Emblem of His Name; His signet ring impressed upon the earth!

Background: Courtroom vs. Father and Children  EO vs RC

In Greek, the word we translate as justified, also means be made righteous and found innocent. It means to be in right relationship with God. Latin Rome tended to look upon these passages in a juridical (legal) context, but the Greek Orthodox church sees justification as a relationship with God without the hindrance of sin. We are no longer enemies; we are friends on good terms. We have fellowship with each other.

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to righteousness and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:17–19)

Jesus died to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Through confession of sin and rebirth by the Holy Spirit, we are given the gift of unmerited favor and given the righteousness of God so that all our sins are washed away and in God’s eyes, it is as though we have never committed any sin. Jesus took the blame as if he had committed our sins and not us.

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Boomer Replies to #OkBoomer

I hear “Ok Boomer” is a dismissive insult to ideas or views that a younger generation does not want to hear, address, respect or debate. The old term for that was “whateverrrrr” So, I thought, what could a baby boomer (hence the term “boomer”) say to someone of that mindset. And I thought of a few. Please feel free to add your own.

#OkTriggerBait

#OkSafeSpace

#OkHappyPlace

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The Whole Gospel of Jesus Christ

from The Scholars Corner
First, I must ask you, “which is more real to you: your experience or the Word of God?” The Bible is full of stories of miracles, healings, the dead raised, and to top it all off, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. But how many of you have experienced these things? Even though you have not experienced miracles, if you have not, do you believe the Bible is true and that these stories are true?  Do you believe Jesus was raised from the dead even though you have never seen Jesus? So what if you experience of pain, suffering and disappointment in this life? Does that make the Word of God untrue? In other words, what is truth to you: your experience of what God says in his Word?

What I’m saying is that what I am about to preach to you, I could preach to you from a wheelchair. Even if I have never personally experienced God’s power, it would still be true because it is God’s Word. It is true because God says so, not because I have experienced it.

The message is this: Jesus died not only to set you free from sin but also to heal you of all diseases. For too long, we have preached a half gospel: the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of your soul, which has only to do with the spiritual. That is true enough, but Jesus also died to heal us of all our diseases and infirmities. His death on the cross was the atonement for our sins and broke the power of Satan over our souls and bodies. Let me say again, Jesus died to heal you of all your diseases as well as save your souls!

Let me lay out my case from God’s Word.

In the first Epistle of John, he writes:

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8, ESV)

What are the works of the devil? Sin obviously, but more than that. Jesus said, “The thief (the devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ESV)

So, the question is:  are sickness and disease from God or from the devil? Are they part of an abundant life, or are they meant to kill and destroy? Are sickness and disease a consequence of sin in this fallen world, or are they sent by God?   The scriptures do say that sickness and disease are a consequence of sin; they are part of the curse for rebellion against God.

In Deuteronomy, after recounting the blessings of prosperity and health for those who obey the Lord, Moses warns the people of the consequences for disobedience:

 “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. “The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. The Lord will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. The Lord will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish. And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed. “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you shall be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. And your dead body shall be food for all birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away. The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, and with tumors and scabs and itch, of which you cannot be healed. The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind, and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways. And you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually, and there shall be no one to help you.” (Deuteronomy 28:15–29, ESV)

We all know that none of us are without sin. We have all failed to follow the Lord’s statutes and obey him perfectly. We are justly under the curse of the Law for our sins.  If we lived only by our own merits, we would be in trouble. But we have a Savior! Jesus is our redeemer, who has redeemed us from the curses of the Law.

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:10–14, ESV)

Whatever sins we may have committed and whatever consequence might justly fall upon us for our disobedience, Jesus took our place. He sacrificed himself for us. He paid the penalty for our misdeeds.  He has redeemed us and saved us from the consequences of our evil behavior by becoming a curse for us.

In other words, the power of the CURSE is broken in Jesus when he went to be executed in our place. Satan’s legal right to punish us for our sins was broken when Jesus took our place and suffered for us. Satan could not afflict Jesus with death or disease because Jesus was without sin (John 14:30). Jesus had to give up his right, lay down his life for us of his own free will, (John 10:16–18). According to the Law, our disobedience gave Satan legal right to bring punishment upon us. But Jesus took our place and stood between Satan and us. Satan’s legal right and power to afflict us and condemn us was broken in Jesus’ body on the tree. He took the punishment for our sins in his flesh. That is what it means when it says, “By his stripes we have been healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24) The Cross broke Satan’s power. Jesus died to set us free!

Now if you owed the bank $10,000 on your car, but your father decided to pay it off for you, could the bank then come and ask you for that money? No, the debt has been paid. In the same way, Satan has no right to punish us for crimes we have no longer committed. What I mean is that because of Jesus’ blood, we have been declared innocent of any crime. Before God, we are sinless because of the blood of Jesus Christ. That is what it means when we sing “are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?”  Jesus took our sin upon himself and suffered for us so that it would be as if we had never sinned. If we are innocent before the Law, Satan has no right to punish us and the curses of the Law have no effect on us.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27, ESV)

The Hebrew word for Peace is Shalom.  It means much more than internal, spiritual peace and rest, although we need that desperately. Shalom means being made whole.

Shalōm, the most prominent OT term for “peace,” held a wide range of connotations (wholeness, health, security, well-being, and salvation, freedom from stress and from enemies) The presence of shalōm in any of these contexts was not considered ultimately as the outcome of human endeavor, but as a gift or blessing of God. It is not surprising, therefore, to find “peace” tied closely to the OT notion of covenant. Shalōm was the desired state of harmony and communion between the two covenant partners its presence signifying God’s blessing in the covenant relationship. (Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible)

A bilateral “treaty of peace” (Josh. 9:15; 10:1) would mean that both parties promised to refrain from hostilities against the other and furthermore would seek the other’s welfare, including a pledge of aid if the treaty partner were attacked. To “go in peace” meant to go with an assurance of friendship and favor.  (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

In our half Gospel, we have divided salvation from healing. We have considered salvation only a spiritual matter having to do with salvation from sin. BUT the Greek word for salvation (sozo), like the Hebrew word shalom, also means to be healed AND delivered from oppression by your enemies. If your enemy is Satan, which it is, then salvation has to do with being removed from his grasp.  When Jesus said to those whom he healed, “your faith has made you well,” it also means “your faith has saved you.”

And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well (sozo); go in peace.”” (Luke 8:48, ESV)

And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved (sozo)you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:48–50, ESV)

To be healed and be saved are the same word. Only in English are the words different. Only in English are healing and salvation divided. In Hebrew (Shalom) and Greek, salvation includes salvation of the body.

σωζω (sōzō). vb. to save. Denotes saving from death or harm.

This verb primarily refers to saving people from death or harm. In the Septuagint it is the usual translation of יָשַׁע (yāšaʿ, “to save”) and can thus also refer to giving victory (e.g., Psalm 98:1 lxx). (Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible)

Jesus died to give you VICTORY, not just relief.  He came to destroy the works and power of the enemy. And part of the enemy’s power is sickness and disease.

How do we know this? In the Garden of Eden, there was no sickness nor death. Sickness and death came after Adam sinned.  When Adam listened to Satan instead of God and ate the forbidden fruit, Adam gave over his dominion of the earth to Satan. Think about it.  Satan boasted to Jesus when he tempted Jesus that he could give him all the earthly kingdoms.

 

And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’ ” (Luke 4:4–8, ESV)

It would not be a temptation if it were not true. Satan said,” it has been delivered to me.” Who delivered it to Satan? Who gave Satan the authority? Not God! Where did Satan get this power?  From Adam. Adam had dominion, but he became a slave to Satan’s power when he rebelled and listened to the Serpent.  In the beginning, God gave Adam dominion over the earth. It was ours!

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”” (Genesis 1:26, ESV)

In Psalms it says, “The heavens are the Lord’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.” (Psalm 115:16, ESV)

When Adam sinned, he surrendered his dominion over the earth and gave it to his new master, Satan. Did not Jesus say that “everyone who sins is a slave to sin?” (John 8:34). Adam became a slave to Satan’s power through his sin. Before the Fall, Adam had dominion.  Satan was not his master.  Only after Adam sinned did Satan become prince of the power of the air and the “ruler of this world.”

Was there sickness and disease before Adam fell? No. So who is the author of sin, sickness and disease? Who wants to kill, steal and destroy humanity – to destroy those who are created in God’s image?  Who wants to murder as many unborn children as possible to thwart God’s plan for mankind?

There is a war between Satan and God over ownership of the earth. God gave authority over the earth to Adam and Adam gave it to Satan. God wanted us restored to our rightful place as his children and the earth restored through our fellowship with God. So, he sent his Son, Jesus to take from Satan his power and authority.  Jesus died not just to reconcile us to God but the entire creation to himself:

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16, ESV)

 “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:19–20, ESV)

Jesus died and defeated Satan with his sacrifice on the Cross. In this war with Satan, Jesus breached the gates of hell and took back from Satan any authority or power or legal right the enemy had to this earth or to you.

Do you think Jesus died to leave us in the enemy’s power?  Or did He die to make you free?

During WWII, the American army liberated prisoner of war camps and concentration camps. Did the American army leave the German prison guards in charge after they set the prisoners free? NO WAY.  Then why do you think Jesus would leave us as the mercy of the enemy after he DIED to set us free!??? Why would he leave us in the enemy’s power or subject to the enemy’s kingdom?

Finally, let me ask…  “Is there any sickness or disease in heaven?” No. What is God’s will for the earth?  We know it and have learned it as a child:

“Thy Kingdom Come. They will be done on earth as it is (already being done) in heaven!”
When Jesus sent his disciples to preach in the cities, he told them to heal the sick:

“Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you.  Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ “Luke 10:8–9

In other words, healing all the sick in the town is a sign of God’s kingdom; it is a sign of God’s Dominion where His will is done. In fact, Jesus has given us, his church, this very mission:

And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”” (Mark 16:17–18, ESV)

“And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons…” Matthew 10:8-9

The Church’s commission was to advance God’s Kingdom by destroying Satan’s power over people and by delivering them from Satan’s slavery to fear, sin, sickness and death.  Notice we are not just to heal the sick but to raise the dead! In the Church, healings should be the norm, not the exception. But we are not yet experiencing that.

So, the big question is why are not more healed?  Well, there are two answers. In a war, there are always casualties. We are in a war with the evil one, who is called the “prince of the power of the air,” who is the great deceiver. He does not want us to know of Jesus’ mission. He wants us to believe that sickness and disease are sent by God. He is a liar and wants us to submit to that lie so that we will still live in slavery. Paul says, “we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.” We are in a battle with him who came to kill, steal and destroy. Why are we surprised then that the enemy throws hand grenades at us?  Does it not say that the devil roams about “like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour?”  His objective is to kill us. Sickness and disease are part of his arsenal.

The second answer is more profound. Healing is not common because we have preached a half gospel of Jesus as forgiver of our sins, but not as our healer and redeemer.  As a whole, we in the US do not expect Jesus to heal everyone or heal all the time. Our greatest weakness is that we think we know Jesus. Just like the people in Nazareth who thought they knew Jesus as the carpenter’s son, they did not expect anything from him. It says, “he could do no mighty work there” only heal a few sick people because of their unbelief…  (Mark 6:5). How can we look to him in faith for our healing if we don’t believe he does and wants to heal us ALL the time?    Yet even in our covenant meal, he said the cup of his shed blood is for the remission of sins, and his body was given in place of ours for our transgressions.  By His stripes we were healed. He took the curse in his body on the tree to deliver us from the consequences of our misdeeds.

Finally, when the devil sends sickness, we blame God instead of the devil. We think God caused it. How can you ask God to heal you if you think he sent it? No, Jesus came to heal and deliver, the devil came to destroy. We are blaming the wrong person.

Our expectations are formed by our familiarity with sin, with life’s disappointments, and by the battle, but not by the Living Word of God. We think God wants us to suffer disease and that is the devil’s lie.  God wants us healed and whole. He wants us to know his Shalom! In fact, he sent his Son to die to make us whole. He may call us to suffer for the Gospel’s sake, at the hand of others, but that is not the type of suffering I’m talking about. Sickness and disease are not ever God’s will for your life.

Is it surprising that in this world of medicines and doctors, we first turn to them? I come from a family of doctors, so I am not against medicine, because it is a gift from God and one way God heals. But in a world of constant bad news on television and distractions of entertainment and violence on screen, where we are focused on all the problems of the world and of our own, that we do not look to the heavens from whence comes our salvation. In other words, our familiarity with the ways of this world are blinding us to the ways and purposes of God. Our expectations, like those in Nazareth, are formed by our experience and not by the promises of God. Our focus is on the prince of the power of the air and not upon Him who came to deliver us.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8, ESV)

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, NASB95)

Conclusion:  The WHOLE GOSPEL OR GOOD NEWS of JESUS CHRIST is that he came to set us free from the enemy in Body Soul and Spirit! He came to heal us as well as deliver us from sin and Satan’s power.  He came so that we might have real life and have it abundantly!

Now let us pray for one another to be healed!

Abundance:

    1. περισσός pĕrissŏs, per-is-sos´; from 4012 (in the sense of beyond); superabundant (in quantity) or superior (in quality); by impl. excessive; adv. (with 1537) violently; neut. (as noun) preeminence:—exceeding abundantly above, more abundantly, advantage, exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, superfluous, vehement [-ly].(Strong’s Greek)

Review:

  1. Sickness and Disease are a result of the fall. Sin gave Satan legal dominion over the earth through Adam, who surrendered his dominion when he rebelled against God. Sickness, fear, and death are a consequence of the fall and part of the way Satan exercises his power in this world.
  2. Satan’s mission is to kill, steal, and destroy humanity, which bears the image of God, and to thwart God’s plan for the earth.
  3. Jesus came to destroy the destroyer. He came to destroy the works of the devil, which include sin, fear, sickness and death.
  4. Jesus came to give us abundant life in place of death. His blood cleanses us from all our sins, and, in his body, he took into himself the rightful punishment for our sins. By his stripes, he purchased healing for us. “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, ESV)
  5. Jesus, by his sacrifice on the cross, paid the penalty for our sins, and thereby took away from Satan his legal right to exact punishment on us for our sins, including his legal right to afflict us with diseases.
  6. Jesus healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead as part of his mission to establish God’s dominion on earth.
  7. As evidence of Jesus’ establishment of the Kingdom of God, he sent the Church out to heal the sick, raise the dead, deliver people from bondage, forgive sins, and bring the lost into the Kingdom of God through repentance and the Good News of the Gospel. Healing was a part of the Church’s commission and was evidence of Jesus’ Lordship.
  8. By dropping healing from our proclamation of Jesus’ saving power, we have preached a half gospel, which reduces Jesus to having no real impact upon this world besides the forgiveness of sins. As a result, our message does not lead to faith in Jesus as healer. Without expectation of Jesus as our healer, we become like the people in Nazareth.
  9. The remedy is to preach the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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Messenger virus. A new threat for Facebook users. (June 2019)

Seeing a lot of friends lately getting their Facebook accounts hacked and cloned!  Suddenly my friend will ask to friend me from their account. It looks just like them, but they are already my friends so it seems weird. The hacker has cloned their account to look exactly like the real one.

Or I get a stupid message, “how are you?”  from them in Facebook Messenger.   See the following article for more details!

Facebook Messenger virus continued the work of previous variants in 2017. Victims receive a fake YouTube link from their contacts.[10] Once a person clicks on it, the virus redirects to a fake website that looks identical to Facebook. Here people are asked to enter their login details. As a result victim’s account is taken over by the hackers and the malicious message is forwarded to the whole victim’s contact list.

Messenger virus — a malicious strategy used to infect devices via Facebook attachment spam. Facebook Messenger virus is a term used by users and security

Source: Messenger virus. A new threat for Facebook users. (June 2019)

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