Anchor

The Message of the Cross

A compilation

free-bible-studies-online-anchorWhen you go throughout the world, you see many churches with steeples. When the Communists tried to outlaw religion in Russia and in Eastern Europe, they forgot that the cross was on many of their churches and cathedrals. The cross is worn on the necks of so many people, but they don’t know what it means. What does it mean to you tonight?

First, the cross shows us the depths of our sins. We don’t realize what sin is in the sight of God—how deeply it offends Him and how it separates us from Him. Before Jesus went to the cross, He prayed in Gethsemane. He was agonizing, sorrowful. He prayed to God, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39 NKJV) He looked into the cup, and what did He see in that cup? He saw the sins of the whole world! He saw murder, war, racial prejudice, adultery, lying, and fraud.

People ask the question, “What is sin?” Sin is coming short of God’s righteousness. God is righteous and holy. He cannot look upon sin. A diamond may be perfect to the natural eye. But if you take it to a specialist and he looks at it through a glass, he sees a defect in it. And God looks at us that way… The Scripture says all have sinned. We have all come short of God’s requirement…

The Bible says that we are sinners by nature and by choice. James 4:1–3 says: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” We are all that way. Sin has affected our minds. The Scripture says, “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV)

Sin also affects your will. Jesus said, “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.” (John 8:34 NKJV) There’s something of which you are guilty. You can’t break this habit. You would like to, but you have no power to do it. You are a slave. You cry for freedom, but there is no escape. But Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32 NKJV) Then He said that He was the truth. (John 14:6)

Sin also affects your conscience. Every one of us has a conscience. Sometimes it’s a little red light that comes on every time we sin against God. But you can have a conscience that doesn’t work any longer. You have gone against your conscience for so long that it’s dead. You are no longer shocked or offended by sin around you or sin in your own life.

There’s a penalty to sin. The wages of sin is death. The Cross says to the world tonight, “You are a sinner. You are under the sentence of death.” That means spiritual death, eternal death. But not only does the Cross show us our sins, it also shows us the love of God. God is saying tonight, “I love you. No matter what you have done—how bad you have been—I love you.” And the death of Christ is what makes the good news. God is saying to you, “I love you. I forgive you because of what Jesus did on the cross.”

The Cross is a pardon; it’s a reprieve from death for people who don’t deserve it. None of us deserves to be saved. None of us deserves to go to heaven. But God is love, (1 John 4:8) and God is grace and mercy. “Grace” means something that you don’t deserve, something that God just gives you. God offers you a pardon tonight. He offers you forgiveness; He offers you assurance of heaven if you die. And that can happen right here tonight. “God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 KJV) …

Jesus died on the cross for you, and the Scripture says that you can never be the same once you have been to the Cross: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

Do you feel that your life has been a failure? Is your life turned upside down? Do you wonder which way to turn? The choice you make tonight will affect your whole life. It will also affect where you spend eternity. Where will you be a hundred years from now? You won’t be here, but the Cross guarantees a future life. The Cross is followed by the Resurrection. The death of Christ was not the end. There’s a Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Scripture teaches that Christ is reconciling the world unto Himself. He’ll reconcile you. You are separated from God by sin. But when you come to the Cross, you are united with God, and you become a partaker of His own nature.

—Billy Graham

 
Symbol of our faith

Why is the cross the symbol of our faith? To find the answer, look no further than the cross itself. Its design couldn’t be simpler. One beam horizontal, the other vertical. One reaches out like God’s love. The other reaches up as does God’s holiness. One represents the width of his love, the other reflects the height of his holiness. The cross is the intersection of both. The cross is where God forgave his children without lowering his standard.

How could he do this? In a sentence: God put our sin on his Son and punished it there. “God put on him the wrong who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 MSG) Or as another version reads, “Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so that Christ could make us acceptable to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 CEV)

Envision the moment. God on his throne. You on the earth. And between you and God, suspended between you and heaven, is Christ on his cross. Your sins have been placed on Jesus. God, who punishes sin, releases his rightful wrath on your mistakes. Jesus receives the blow. Since Christ is between you and God, you don’t. The sin is punished, but you are safe, safe in the shadow of the cross. This is what God did, but why, why would he do it? Moral duty? Heavenly obligation? Paternal requirement? No. God is required to do nothing. Besides, consider what he did. He gave his Son. His only Son. Would you do that? Would you offer the life of your child for someone else? I wouldn’t. There are those for whom I would give my life. But ask me to make a list of those for whom I would kill my daughter. The sheet will be blank. I don’t need a pencil. The list has no names.

But God’s list contains the name of every person who ever lived. For this is the scope of his love. And this is the reason for the cross. He loves the world. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” (John 3:16) As boldly as the center beam proclaims God’s holiness, the crossbeam declares his love. And, oh, how wide his love reaches. … It’s nice to be included. You aren’t always. Universities exclude you if you aren’t smart enough. Businesses exclude you if you aren’t qualified enough, and sadly, some churches exclude you if you aren’t good enough. But though they may exclude you, Christ includes you.

When asked to describe the width of his love, he stretched one hand to the right and the other to the left and had them nailed in that position so you would know, he died loving you.

—Max Lucado

 
God’s altar

Moses said that without the shedding of blood, there’s no remission of sins. (Leviticus 17:11) That was the Law, but Jesus said, “This is the new testament in My blood.” (1 Corinthians 11:25)

Jesus died on God’s altar, the cross, believed upon by every Christian, trusted by every son and daughter of God who believes Jesus Christ for their salvation and His blood shed for their sins. He was the final ultimate sacrifice for sin. He was the final ultimate Lamb of God slain for the remission of your sins. He took the punishment of your sins in His own body on that tree, the cross, and that was the last sacrifice of blood for sin as far as God was concerned.

It cost a priceless gift for you to get saved, and that was Jesus and His blood. That’s the highest-priced gift anybody could ever receive, the highest cost anybody could pay for your salvation, and only Jesus could do it. No matter how much you sacrifice and try to pay for it by your own works, the price is too high for you. Only Jesus could pay it! God Himself spared not His own Son, Jesus Christ, but let Him die on the cross in order that He could freely give us all things. Such love!

—David Brandt Berg

 
Revelation of God

The cross of Jesus is the revelation of God’s judgment on sin. Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken. There is nothing more certain in time or eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the cross: He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God. He made redemption the basis of human life; that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.

The cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” … The cross is not the cross of a man but the cross of God, and the cross of God can never be realized in the human experience. The cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby any individual of the human race can enter into union with God. When we get to the cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the cross is the gateway.

The center of salvation is the cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened—but the crash is on the heart of God.

—Oswald Chambers

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

Questions From You!

HOW CAN I KNOW WHAT GOD’S WILL IS?

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Every one of us has countless decisions which we must face every day of our lives. Every time of conflict, of testing and trial is a time of DECISION. But the point is, HOW do you make your decisions? How can you KNOW you are making the right ones, those which will bring the best results and help you achieve your goals?

Putting it simply, for true Christians, MAKING A DECISION IS ACTUALLY FINDING OUT WHAT GOD’S WILL IS; what God knows will be best according to how HE sees the situation. After all, only GOD is way out there in FRONT, and only He knows what is going to happen, and only He is able to lead us.

But the worst thing in the World to do is to keep going ahead when you don’t know what to do. That was the tragic mistake of so many of history’s failures who thought they didn’t need the Lord’s direction. Sooner or later it always proves true that those who SUCCEED in God’s Kingdom are those who look to God’s WORD to lead them, and the ones who fail are those who go without it.

Unfortunately, there are many Christians who haven’t yet discovered that Jesus was serious when He said, “Ask and it SHALL be given you, seek and you SHALL find, knock and the door SHALL be opened for you.” (Matthew 7:7). God means just what He says! It’s a PROMISE!

The following 7 points will help you to more clearly and easily discover the Will of God for your life. As you read them, think about them and APPLY these basic guidelines to ANY DECISION you are faced with. The Lord will NOT fail to show you the ANSWER you need! It is so comforting to know that whatever GOD shows you ALWAYS works out!

 
THE SEVEN WAYS TO KNOW GOD’S WILL!

NO.1 THE WORD is the FIRST place we look to find the Will of God! And when God speaks to you right through HIS Word, then you KNOW it’s right! The Bible is the SURE Word of God and it NEVER fails! In God’s Word you can find the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. When you ask God for answers, let Him speak to you through His Word!

NO.2 THE VOICE OF GOD’S WORD is when the Lord brings to mind a certain verse or passage from the Scriptures, or as you are reading, all of a sudden a verse seems to jump at you as if it were written just for YOU! It’s as if the Lord had whispered it in your ear. It begins to apply to you personally, and suddenly it becomes REAL! It’s no longer just mere words, but you finally get the point of what God is trying to show you!

NO.3 DIRECT REVELATION! Sometimes God uses a dream or vision, a voice or prophetic message to show you what to do. You KNOW it is from God if it AGREES with and DOESN’T CONTRADICT His WORD. It’s so wonderful to get the answers straight from the Lord! When you’ve got the concrete evidence from Him, His WORD on the subject, then you know you’re on the right track & you can go ahead & ACT with CONVICTION–& WITHOUT HESITATION! That settles it! You’ve heard from Heaven!

NO.4 GODLY COUNSELLORS! When finding God’s Will in a decision, it is often wise to ask others for their opinion. However, it is important to WEIGH the counsel you receive, and to prayerfully consider the SOURCE that it comes from! How RELIABLE are their leadings from the Lord? Do they bear GOOD FRUIT themselves and produce good results from their own actions and decisions? “By their fruits,” Jesus says, “you will know them!” (Matthew 7:20).

NO.5 OPEN AND CLOSED DOORS! If something is God’s Will, He’ll usually open the door and make it possible! Which direction is God providing or opening the way and the means to do it? That is one way to find out the direction God is leading. Of course circumstances and conditions are not always the final criteria for finding the Will of God, but they can sometimes be an indication.

Often by closing one door and opening another, the Lord leads and directs us. God has certain set-ups and situations which suddenly become golden opportunities. At times like these we should take decisive ACTION and not miss the Lord’s timing, otherwise what was a golden opportunity could become a LOST opportunity! So after you’ve prayed about any door that opens and perhaps have discussed it with others, and checked it with His Word, then GO ahead.

NO.6 BURDENS, strong impressions or feelings can sometimes be an indication of God’s leading. It isn’t always wise to go by feelings, but if something is really of God you’ll have an inner CONVICTION, what many Christians call the “Witness of the Holy Spirit”! It can be a still small Voice in your heart! In your heart you feel you just have the FAITH. You just KNOW that’s the Will of God and that’s what you’re supposed to do, or not do. His Word says, “You will hear a voice beside you saying, this is the way; walk ye in it.” (Isaiah 30:21).

NO.7 A FLEECE is the term given to a system of CHECK AND DOUBLECHECK with God. It’s like an agreement with God to show you if you are on the right track or not. And if you ask Him whole-heartedly, you won’t be disappointed! Sometimes you can actually specify the kind of revelation you’d like God to give you like the Prophet Gideon did in the Bible. (See Judges 6:36-40.) Gideon laid a fleece (sheepskin) on the ground and said, “Now Lord, if the fleece is wet with dew in the morning, but the ground is dry, then I’ll KNOW it is You talking to me!” But then he wanted to be doubly sure, so the next day he said, “If the fleece is dry and the ground is wet, I’ll believe it!”, and that is just what the Lord did each time! Then Gideon knew that God was with him. If the Lord hadn’t done the miracle, Gideon might have quit entirely and lost heart!

Regarding fleeces: Although they seem like an easy and supernatural way, they are the LEAST RELIABLE of the 7 ways to discover God’s Will, only to be used in conjunction with the other more dependable points shared above. In fact, the more ways you employ in making decisions, the greater the assurance will be that your decision is right.

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What a comfort it is when you know that you’re in God’s Will! It’s the SAFEST PLACE to be in the whole World! No matter if war is breaking out all about you and there is darkness and storm, you’ll be safe in the hands of God as you follow Him to victory.

Just be sure it’s RIGHT, then GO ahead. To the right place, at the right time, with the right people and God will bless it! He will lead you if you’ll follow. But don’t run off on your own just because something LOOKS good to you; be sure to keep in line with His WORD and with His blessings. Any combination of two or three or more of these little guidelines can help to CONFIRM God’s Will for YOUR life.

And that is why we wanted to share with you these guidelines to help you to keep in touch with your Heavenly Commander-in-Chief at all times. That’s one line of communication that can NEVER be broken. You’ll always have a hotline to Heaven and you can get your orders straight from the Lord Himself as He guides you through the many difficult situations you will face. Even when you seem to be all alone, God will always be there by your side to direct your every move. All you have to do is ASK Him, and the answer will come! Whether it be in public, at home or in any situation, God is EVERYWHERE! “He knows, He loves, He cares, nothing His truth can dim! He gives His very best to those who leave the choices up to Him!”

This is actually the FIRST requirement in finding GOD’S Will: Having no will of your OWN! His Word says, “Offer your bodies as LIVING SACRIFICES, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be NOT conformed to THIS World, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, that you may KNOW what is the good and acceptable and perfect Will of God!” (Romans 12:1,2). SURRENDER your will, your body, your mind to the Lord and let HIM make the decisions, and you will never be disappointed!

Our prayers are with you as you follow God to GREATER VICTORIES, both in your personal life, and as you stand up for His Truth and witness His Love to others! God bless you! And He will as you DO His Will and follow Him!

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Anchor

Sharing Absolute Truths in a Changing World

A compilation

free-bible-studies-online-anchorThe popular world view today is that there is no absolute truth; there are only opinions. If there are only opinions, then one person’s opinion is no more valid than another person’s. Most discussions about Christ will simply be an exchange of opinions. The idea that there is truth has become alien to much of our thinking, with the criteria being if it seems to be good for me, then it must be true. And whether it is true or not, we then measure the benefit of a religion by the good it does its followers.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Peter said, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Jesus Christ is superior to all that preceded Him, not because what He said was better or more complete, though it was, but because He is Himself the message and has absolute unmatched supremacy in God’s revelation.

… That is why the writer of Hebrews says, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus,” (Hebrews 3:1) and “fix our eyes on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:2) Truth is decapitated when we sever it from Christ, which is what the Pharisees did, and consequently, knew nothing of spiritual life.

We can know the Scriptures inside out, but detached from Christ, it becomes a dead book. It would be like having a manual on a new car we have bought. We do not read the manual for the sake of reading. Rather, we want to get to know the car and be able to use it to its full potential. We are given the Bible so that we can know Christ and all that is made available to us in Him. There is an old hymn, “Break Thou the Bread of Life,” which has the great line, “Beyond the sacred page, I seek thee, Lord.” From Genesis to Revelation, every verse ultimately leads to Christ, and it is knowing Him that matters.

—Charles Price

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There are absolute truths that you can know, contrary to modern teachings that there are no absolutes. The modern teachers of that kind of non-absolutism philosophy would say, “You think that’s a hand, but you don’t really know it’s a hand; you’ve just always been taught it’s a hand!” They’d try to prove to you that it’s not possible to know anything with certainty, trying to tear down accepted truths of human existence and learning and religion. But we know and we believe that’s a hand, and almost anybody with common sense, even a little child, knows that’s his or her hand. So why try to tell them differently? You could say, “It’s actually an accumulation of 75% water and a lot of calcium and bone, and various kinds of minerals and substances, etc.” But it’s still a hand!

There are some things which you must accept as absolutely accepted truth, proven facts! Don’t let the theorists of non-absolutism try to tell you differently. The greatest absolute of all is God, which is why this doctrine against absolutism is a philosophy of Satan. By teaching that there are no absolutes, then they can say, “There’s also no God, no Bible, no morality. You don’t have to obey anything or anybody or keep laws. You don’t have to let anybody tell you what’s right or wrong; you can just do as you please!” And you wind up with chaos, anarchy, and confusion.

We as Christians and children of the Lord have to accept that there are certain things which we can know with certainty, which are proven from the Bible and from human experience for thousands of years, both spiritual truths and the ordinary everyday things of normal human life and existence.

—David Brandt Berg

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Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
—C. S. Lewis

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Truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
—Sir Winston Churchill

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It is a central heresy of our culture to say that all truth is relative; that one thing may be true for me and quite another may be true for you. This absurdity destroys the very notion of truth … and is the result of muddled thinking. No one can seriously believe that a belief which contradicts his or her own is just as true. The expression “It is true for me” is self-confuting. Either a thing is true or it is not. … Can we imagine saying, “Well, the earth is round to me; but it may be flat to you”? The earth is either round or flat; it cannot be both; and what you or I think about it is irrelevant. You may claim that religion and ethics is not a matter of truth at all. Very well, do not use the word “true”; but if you use it, do not render it unintelligible by adding that empty phrase, “for me.”
—Keith Ward

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Relativism is a revolt against the objective reality of God. The sheer existence of God creates the possibility of truth. God is the ultimate and final standard for all claims to truth—who he is, what he wills, what he says is the external, objective standard for measuring all things. When relativism says that there is no standard of truth and falsehood that is valid for everyone, it speaks like an atheist. It commits treason against God.
—John Piper

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Moral practice has always been difficult for fallen humanity, but at least there was always the lighthouse of moral principles, no matter how stormy the sea of moral practice got. But today, with the majority of our mind-molders, in formal education, or informal education—that is, media—the light is gone. Morality is a fog of feelings. That is why to them, as Chesterton said, “Morality is always dreadfully complicated to a man who has lost all his principles.” Principles mean moral absolutes. Unchanging rocks beneath the changing waves of feelings and practices. … How important is this issue? After all, it’s just philosophy, and philosophy is just ideas. But ideas have consequences. Sometimes these consequences are as momentous as a holocaust, or a Hiroshima. Sometimes even more momentous. Philosophy is just thought, but sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. This is just as true for societies as it is for individuals.
—Peter Kreeft

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It has been said that truth, by definition, will always be exclusive. Jesus claimed to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Historically we know that Jesus claimed such exclusivity. Had He not made that statement, Jesus would have been unreasonably implying that truth is all-inclusive, which is an impossibility.
—Kim Triller

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

Proof That Jesus Is the Messiah!

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Hundreds and even thousands of years BEFORE Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Old Testament Prophets predicted His coming. Their predictions were not just general ones that “a Messiah, a Saviour, will come” etc., but SPECIFIC prophecies about places, times and events that have been fulfilled in only ONE person who has ever lived–JESUS of Nazareth! In this brief lesson we have chronologically arranged several of the most outstanding Old Testament Messianic prophecies in the actual verbatim text of the Scriptures and followed them with their New Testament fulfilments.

 
HIS BIRTH

PROPHECY: Nearly 750 years before Christ’s birth, the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah prophesied: “The Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a VIRGIN shall CONCEIVE, and bear a SON, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14).

FULFILMENT: In exact fulfilment of this prophecy, Mary was a young VIRGIN engaged to be married to Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her saying that she would bear a child. “Then Mary said to the Angel, How shall this be, seeing I have not laid with a man?’ And the Angel answered, The HOLY GHOST shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you! Therefore that holy One which shall be born of you shall be called the SON of GOD.” (Luke 1:26-35). (Immanuel means “God with us”, and for those of us who have received Jesus into our hearts, that’s Who He IS: God is WITH us!)

PROPHECY: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: And the government shall be upon His shoulder: And His NAME shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the MIGHTY GOD, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace!” (Isaiah 9:6). (Prophecy given 740 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: This shows that the ancient Jews, unlike most modern ones, believed that God had a SON–Who was to be born in the flesh and Whom the prophecy said was to be called “The Mighty GOD”.

PROPHECY: Micah, prophesying in the eighth century B.C., predicted the exact village where the Messiah would be born: “You, BETHLEHEM, though you are small among the clans of Judah, yet out of you shall He come forth unto Me that is to be RULER over ISRAEL; Whose existence has been of old, from EVERLASTING.” (Micah 5:2). (Prophecy given 710 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: The Gospel says “Jesus was born in BETHLEHEM of JUDEA.” (Matthew 2:1). Although the Jews knew that their Messiah was to be born there (Matthew 2:4-6), they didn’t, as a nation, accept Jesus as their ruler. Nonetheless, the prophecy says that He “IS to BE ruler”. This takes place spiritually now for those who voluntarily accept His Messiahship, and will SOON take place LITERALLY by FORCE at His Second Coming!

Jesus’ existence, as the prophecy says, “has been of OLD, from EVERLASTING”. Jesus said, “Before Abraham was (around 2,000 B.C.), I AM.” (John 8:58). He was here referring to Himself as the eternal God Who revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush as: “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14), the eternal Son of God! (See also John 1:13,14.)

 
TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM

PROPHECY: The Prophet Zechariah commanded the people by the Spirit of the Lord to: “REJOICE GREATLY, O daughter of Zion! SHOUT, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your KING comes unto you: RIGHTEOUS, and having SALVATION; meek, and riding upon a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9). (Prophecy given 487 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: Five days before His crucifixion, as Jesus neared Jerusalem, He told His disciples, “Go into the village ahead of you, and at once you shall find a donkey tied there, and her colt with her: Untie them, and bring them to Me. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the donkey and the colt…and Jesus sat on them…and the multitudes that went ahead, and those that followed, SHOUTED, saying, `Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!'” (Matthew 21:2-10).

Imagine!–The King of kings, God in the flesh, came riding into Jerusalem, meekly sitting on the lowly colt of a donkey, just as God’s Prophet, Zechariah, had predicted over 500 years earlier! And not only did JESUS fulfil this part of the prophecy, but the MULTITUDES of Jerusalem who “REJOICED GREATLY” and “SHOUTED” praises to Him as He entered the city were further proof that indeed, Jesus of Nazareth was “the KING” of whom Zechariah had prophesied!

 
HIS BETRAYAL

PROPHECY: Again Zechariah predicts: “And I said unto them, If you think good, give me my PRICE; and if not, keep it. So they paid me THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER.” (Zechariah 11:12). (Prophecy given 487 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, and said to them, ‘What will you give me, if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out for him THIRTY pieces of SILVER.” (Matthew 26:14, 15).

PROPHECY: “And the Lord said unto me, `Cast it unto the POTTER! The handsome price at which they priced Me!’ And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and CAST them to the POTTER in the HOUSE of the LORD.” (Zechariah 11:13). (Prophecy given 487 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: “Then Judas, which had betrayed Him (Jesus), when he saw that He was condemned, repented, and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders…And he CAST DOWN the pieces of silver in the TEMPLE, and went away and hanged himself. And the chief priests picked up the silver pieces, and said, It is against the law to put this into the treasury, because it is the price paid for blood. So they decided to use the money to buy the POTTER’S Field, to bury foreigners in.” (Matthew 27:3-6). The thirty pieces of silver WERE literally “CAST to the POTTER…IN the house of the Lord”!

 
HIS TRIAL

PROPHECY: “By arrest and judgement He was taken away: And who shall speak of His descendants? For He was cut off from the land of the living: For the transgression of my people was He stricken.” (Isaiah 53:8). (Prophecy given 712 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: Jesus was ARRESTED by the soldiers of the High Priest. (Matthew 26:57). After judging Him in their religious court and condemning Him to death, they bound Him and handed Him over to Pilate, the Roman Governor. (Matthew 27:1-2). “While Pilate was sitting in judgement…the chief priests and elders persuaded the crowd…to have Jesus executed.” (Matthew 27:19-20). “Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified.” (John 19:16).

Pilate himself knew that Jesus was INNOCENT and had done nothing worthy of death, and that the Jewish religious leaders only wanted Jesus executed because of their religious jealousy, yet the religious leaders used their political leverage to force Pilate to have Him crucified anyway. (John 18:28-40;19:1-16; Luke 23:13-25; Matthew 27:18).

 
HIS CRUCIFIXION

PROPHECY: Around 1,000 B.C., King David prophesied: “Dogs have surrounded Me: A band of wicked men have encircled Me: They PIERCED My HANDS and My FEET. I can count all My bones. People stare and gloat over Me. They DIVIDE MY GARMENTS among them, and CAST LOTS upon My CLOTHING.” (Psalm 22:16-18). (Prophecy given around 1,000 B.C.) (See also Zechariah 12:10;13:6.)

FULFILMENT: That was written by King David, who died a natural death (recorded in 1Kings Chapter 1), so he wasn’t talking about himself. But being a Prophet, he predicted the type of death that CHRIST would die! As it says in the New Testament, “then the soldiers, when they had CRUCIFIED Jesus (pierced hands AND feet), took His GARMENTS, and divided them into four parts, a part to every soldier; His undergarment remained. Now this garment was without seam, woven in one piece from top to bottom. They said therefore to one another, Let us not tear it, but let us cast LOTS for it, to see whose it shall be.” (John 19:23,24).

Crucifixion, incidentally, was not practiced by the Jews of David’s time. (They killed criminals by STONING!) But David PREDICTED this type of death for the MESSIAH–a method of execution that was to become one of the principal means of execution by the Roman Empire ten centuries later!

PROPHECY: Here is another prophecy by David regarding “The Righteous”, or the Messiah: “Many are the afflictions of The Righteous, but…He (God) keeps ALL His BONES: Not one of them is broken.” (Psalm 34:19-20). (Prophecy given about 1,000 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: MANY of God’s righteous servants have had their bones broken, especially in their martyrdom. But Jesus was “THE righteous”, “My righteous Servant”, as God called Him, Who through His death would “justify many” or make them righteous. (Isaiah 53:11-12). And to PROVE that He was “THE Righteous” Who would “justify many”, God didn’t let ANY of His bones be broken!

Jesus was crucified on the eve of the feastday of the Passover. To ensure that the bodies of the two thieves and Jesus wouldn’t be hanging there on the cross during the Jews’ holy day (death by crucifixion sometimes took days), they BROKE the LEGS of the thieves, causing their bodies to sag, cutting off their respiration and bringing a quick death. “But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they did NOT break His legs.” (John 19:31-33).

Jesus was “the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the World” (John 1:29), and was crucified at the time of the Jewish Passover, a religious festival when all the Jewish households killed a lamb as a sacrificial sin offering. Right at that SAME time, Jesus, “THE Lamb of God”, died for the sins of Mankind. The Lord had commanded that NONE of the Passover lamb’s BONES were to be BROKEN (Exodus 12:46), and Jesus’ death fulfilled this specific point also!

 
HIS BURIAL

PROPHECY: “And He was given a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death.” (Isaiah 53:9).

FULFILMENT: In the eyes of His bitter religious enemies, Jesus was a criminal, a WICKED man, and as He died, there were “two ROBBERS crucified WITH Him”. (Matthew 27:38). After His death, “a RICH man…named Joseph…went to Pilate and pleaded for the body of Jesus. And when Joseph had taken the body, he…laid it in his own new tomb”–A GRAVE with the RICH!!! (Matthew 27:57-60).

 
HIS RESURRECTION

PROPHECY: “For You will not leave My soul in hell (the grave, death); neither will You allow Your Holy One to see CORRUPTION (decay). (Psalm 16:10). (Prophecy given around 1,000 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: King David, who gave the prophecy, died and was buried in a grave and his flesh saw corruption and decay. But Jesus was RAISED from the grave and hell THREE days AFTER His death, and “His soul was not LEFT in hell (or in the grave), neither (did) His flesh see corruption (decay).” (Acts 2:27-31). As the Angel said to the mourners who came to Jesus’ tomb, “He is not here, but is RISEN! Why do you seek the LIVING among the DEAD?” (Luke 24:6,5).

Jesus is ALIVE! The Scriptures show that He walked the Earth for 40 days after His Resurrection and was seen by HUNDREDS of followers! (Acts 1:3; 1Corinthians 15:4-6). He then ascended up to Heaven where He sits at the right hand of the throne of God. (Mark 16:19).

 
EXACT YEAR OF HIS CRUCIFIXION

PROPHECY: “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem until the Messiah the Prince shall be seven sevens, and 62 sevens (or a TOTAL of 69): The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after 62 sevens shall the MESSIAH be CUT OFF, but not for Himself.” (Daniel 9:25,26). (Prophecy given 538 B.C.)

The city of Jerusalem was completely destroyed by the armies of Babylon when the Jews went into captivity and exile in 586 B.C. But 133 years later, in 453 B.C., Artaxerxes Longimanus, King of the Persian Empire, gave the Jews the commandment to go forth (from captivity into the land of Israel), “to restore and to build Jerusalem”.

We know his decree was issued in 453 B.C., and that Jesus was “cut off” in 30 A.D. Therefore, if we add the 453 years B.C. to the 30 years A.D., it equals 483 YEARS. Let’s see now if Daniel’s specific time prophecy coincides with this:

The prophecy predicted that from the time of this decree until the death of the Messiah the Prince would be–HOW long?–“7 sevens plus 62 sevens”–or 69 SEVENS. 69 sevens would be 69 x 7, which equals 483. So Daniel predicted that 69 sevens of YEARS, or 483 YEARS, would pass between the issuing of the decree to build Jerusalem and the “cutting off” of the Messiah. And that’s EXACTLY how many years DID pass between 453 B.C. and Jesus’ death in 30 A.D.! What an amazing EXACT FULFILMENT of prophecy! And this astonishing prophecy was given in the year 538 B.C.–almost 600 years BEFORE Jesus the Messiah was crucified! It’s also interesting to note that this 483-year period was divided into two periods: First a period of 7 sevens (49 years), then a period of 62 sevens (434 years). History reveals that it did take the Jews 49 YEARS from the time the decree was issued to “rebuild the walls and streets of Jerusalem”. Once Jerusalem was rebuilt, it was exactly 434 years (62 sevens) later that Jesus the Messiah was crucified!

Daniel’s prophecy continues with undeniable PROOF that this MESSIAH had to be JESUS:

 
DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM AFTER HIS COMING

PROPHECY: “At the end of 62 sevens shall the Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: AND the people of the RULER that SHALL COME shall DESTROY the CITY (of Jerusalem) and the SANCTUARY (the Jewish Temple).” (Daniel 9:26). In other words, according to this prophecy, AFTER the Messiah’s death, the city of Jerusalem AND the Jews’ Temple would be DESTROYED! Was it? YES! Only 40 years later!

FULFILMENT: After Jesus was cut off (or crucified in 30 A.D.), “not for Himself”, but for the sins of the WORLD, do you know what happened to Jerusalem and to the Jews’ Temple? In 70 A.D., the Roman legions of the Emperor Vespasian (“the people of the ruler”), under his son, General Titus, marched in and burnt Jerusalem to the ground and so utterly destroyed their Sanctuary that not one stone was left upon another!

Jesus Himself, in a set of amazingly detailed prophecies given 40 years before these catastrophic events, predicted EXACTLY what would happen! (See Matthew 24:1-2; Luke 19:42-44;21:20-24.)

 
SHUTTING OF EAST GATE AFTER HIS COMING

PROPHECY: “Then he brought me back to the outer GATE of the SANCTUARY, the one facing toward the EAST; and it was SHUT. Then the Lord said unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and NO MAN shall enter in by it; because THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, HAS ENTERED IN BY IT, therefore it shall be SHUT.” (Ezekiel 44:1,2). (Prophecy given 572 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: When Jesus (“the Lord, the God of Israel”) made His TRIUMPHAL ENTRY into Jerusalem on the back of the colt of an ass, He came from the Mt. of Olives and entered into Jerusalem’s EAST Gate (Matthew 21:9-12), the gate which led into the TEMPLE COURTS, as it says here, “the OUTER gate of the SANCTUARY which faces toward the EAST.”

In 70 A.D., the city of Jerusalem was utterly destroyed and it remained in ruins for centuries after. But in 542, the Moslem Sultan Sulieman rebuilt the walls of the city. Because the Jews who had rejected Jesus believed their Messiah was STILL to come and was YET to make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Sulieman (who wanted to avoid the Jews rallying around a “Messiah” and rebelling) WALLED the “East Gate” completely SHUT, and thus unwittingly fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Ezekiel, “It shall be shut…because the Lord (Jesus), the God of Israel, HAS ENTERED in by it.” And the East Gate REMAINS sealed shut until this very day!

Most Jews believe that the Messiah has not yet come, but according to these two FULFILLED HISTORICAL FACTS: 1) The destruction of Jerusalem, and 2) The walling up of the East Gate, the Messiah has ALREADY come! And if it wasn’t JESUS of NAZARETH, who WAS it?

WHO ELSE was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, was called God, rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on an ass, was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, was proclaimed innocent yet condemned unjustly to be crucified while soldiers parted His garments, was associated with the wicked in his death, was buried in a rich man’s tomb and rose from the dead–all in FULFILMENT of Messianic PROPHECY! The answer, of course, is NO one else but JESUS CHRIST! And the prophecies that we have quoted here are only a FEW out of nearly 300 specific Old Testament prophecies which Jesus fulfilled!

 
WHY (did Jesus die on the cross)?

WHY did Jesus die on that cross? Because He LOVED you! He loved you enough to take your punishment, to die and be separated from His Father for a while so that He could bring YOU the LOVE of God and ETERNAL LIFE! As another prophecy says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; each of us have turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on HIM the iniquity of us all. There was no deceit in His mouth, yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer. HIS soul (Jesus’) shall be made an offering for SIN, and by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant JUSTIFY (make righteous) many; and HE shall bear THEIR INIQUITIES!” (Isaiah 53:6,9-11). (Prophecy given 750 B.C.)

Jesus died for YOU! And God gave all these prophecies and had them written down and preserved down through the centuries and millenniums so that your faith might be strengthened by them enough to BELIEVE that “God so LOVED the World, that He gave His only begotten SON, that whosoever believeth in HIM should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). Do YOU?

God LOVES you and Jesus is just WAITING at your heart’s door for you to open to Him. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If ANY man hear My voice, and OPEN the door, I WILL come in to him and WILL sup with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20). Would YOU like to receive Jesus into your heart? If you would, sincerely pray from your heart this simple prayer:

Dear Jesus, I know that I’ve done wrong things and I’m sorry. I believe that You died for my sins and I ask You to please come into my heart and forgive me. And please help me to live for You and others by reading Your Word and telling others about Your Love! In Jesus’ name, amen.

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

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Hope in Suffering

free-bible-studies-online-anchorSuffering is designed to make us better, not bitter. God brings men into deep waters not to drown them, but to cleanse them.

Everyone has tests and temptations and trials and tribulations of some form or another, but it’s how you handle them that makes the difference. We can avoid becoming bitter or resentful about our trials and suffering if we realize that our great heavenly Father, the Spirit of love of the entire universe, will never allow any evil to come into our life unless He can in some way make it turn out for good.

This is the wonderful secret that makes burdens become blessings, and trials become triumphs, and crosses become crowns—the knowledge that no matter what we go through, it will somehow turn out for our good. This is the wonderful plan that God has for us and the gift that He has given us who believe in Jesus and are His children. If we are saved, we can trust through problems and suffering, because we know there’s a good reason for our tests and trials.

Everything that happens to the child of God always has a ray of hope somewhere. The storm always has a rainbow. The night always has its stars. The clouds always have a silver lining. God’s loving care is always present in any circumstance. And even when it cannot be seen, faith knows that God is there. For the child of God there is always a good and wonderful purpose behind suffering—a blessing in disguise.

Nevertheless, problems with all of their advantages and lessons and blessings sometimes do tend to discourage us and weigh us down and often tempt us to despair. One of the best ways for keeping our cheerfulness and our balance in times of stress and adversity is the attitude we take toward our problems.

For an example, let’s take the story of the small boy who sat quietly in a seat of a train running between two of the Western cities in the United States. It was a hot, dusty day, very uncomfortable for traveling, and that particular ride was perhaps the most uninteresting day’s journey in the whole land. But the little fellow sat patiently watching the fields and the fences hurrying by, until a motherly old lady, leaning forward, asked sympathetically, “Aren’t you tired of the long ride, dear, and the dust and the heat?” The lad looked up brightly, and replied, with a smile, “Yes, Ma’am, a little. But I don’t mind it much, because my father is going to meet me when I get to the end of it!”

What a beautiful thought it is that when life seems wearisome and monotonous and burdensome, as it sometimes does, we can look forward hopefully and trustingly, and like the little lad, “not mind it much” because our Father, too, will be waiting to meet us at our journey’s end. The Lord will meet us at the end of life’s journey—thank God!

And let’s not forget that Jesus suffered everything that we suffer. The Bible says that He was tempted in all points just like we are. There were times when He was sick and He was tired and He was hungry and He was thirsty and He was discouraged. Think of that.

Jesus Himself knows what it’s like to suffer. In fact, He suffered more than any of us can ever even imagine! He suffered for all the sins of all the world, because He loves us so much and was willing to even die for us! And someday soon, God’s Word promises us, all the suffering for those who love God will come to an end, and He “shall wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for all the evil of this world shall be passed away!”—When Jesus Himself returns to earth to right all wrongs and establish His eternal kingdom of love and peace!

Until that day, we will have to endure some suffering. But if you have Jesus in your heart, if you do your best to love Him and follow His teachings, as written in the Bible, you will find that the joy and happiness that will pervade and fill your life will far outweigh any temporary times of sorrow, suffering, testing, and trial. And that as we have seen, God will work all of these things together for your good.

And when hard times do come, the Lord promises us in His Word, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire, thou shall not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” And you’ll find that no matter how deep the floods of pain and sorrow, or how hot the fires of trial and affliction, Jesus is “a friend that sticks closer than a brother,” and if you put your hand in His, trust in Him, and depend upon His Word, He will lovingly lead you and safely see you through it all!

God’s love does not always keep us from suffering and trials, but it is a love that always keeps us through sufferings and trials. Let’s never forget that the trials and storms of life no more indicate the absence of God than clouds indicate the absence of the sun!

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

The Power of a Touch!

Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 8:43-48

Based on the writings of David Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-the-power-of-a-touch

As Jesus taught the multitudes by the Sea of Galilee, a prominent leader of the local synagogue named Jairus came pushing through the crowd, and falling down before Him, pleaded for Jesus to heal his little daughter. “She’s at the point of death!” he cried in desperation! “Please, come and TOUCH her and make her LIVE!”

Jesus, full of compassion, agreed to go with him, and the crowd pressed behind Him. In the midst of the throng was a woman who had been sick for 12 years with a terrible bleeding haemorrhage. All this time she had gone from one doctor to another, but never with any success. She’d spent every bit of her money on doctors’ bills and suffered much from all their treatments, but still the bleeding continued.

Desperate, the woman thought, “Oh, if I could only TOUCH Him, I KNOW I could be healed!” Then, seeing Jesus afar off, she began anxiously making her way towards Him. It wasn’t easy to get through the pushing, shoving mob of onlookers who were trying to get close to Jesus, but that one thought compelled her: She had to TOUCH Him, even if only the hem of His garment!

Finally she came within reach, and stretching out her hand she was able to barely TOUCH His robe with her fingertips. No sooner had she touched Him than the bleeding stopped completely! A warm and wonderful feeling of health and well-being swept through her body and she knew that after all these years of pain and suffering, she was healed at last! Jesus paused for a moment, having felt that healing POWER had gone out from Him. Turning to the crowd He asked, “Who touched Me?” His disciples looked at Him with astonishment, saying, “With all this great crowd pressing around You, You ask who TOUCHED You?” But Jesus, knowing already who had touched Him, smiled and silently, knowingly turned to look upon the astonished woman.

Still trembling at the realisation of what had happened, she came and fell at His feet, telling Him what had happened to her. And Jesus lovingly, tenderly as a father would speak to his child, said to her, “Daughter, thy FAITH has made thee WHOLE! Go in peace and be healed of your disease.” Jesus was making it clear to all the crowd that touching His clothes was not what had healed the woman, but it was “her FAITH in Him that had made her whole”!

That woman had put her tiny grain of faith into action, and the result has echoed throughout the centuries: “Thy FAITH hath made thee WHOLE!”

There is a lesson to be learned from this story which we can APPLY to OUR lives NOW, today. Though many people thronged about Jesus, why was it that only ONE received that powerful healing touch from God? Many had gone to see Jesus out of mere curiosity, they were more interested in the sight of the man. Yet this woman, as soon as she heard of Him, BELIEVED in her heart that He could really help her, when all else had failed. So she pressed toward Him, full of faith, never giving up until she made that divine CONTACT with the Lord!

What an illustration of how PRAYER works! It’s not how LONG you pray or how MUCH you pray, but how much you BELIEVE! It’s like tuning in a radio station on your receiver. When you finally make the right contact, the signal booms in loud and clear and strong! Prayer is making contact between our human needs and God’s divine resources. All we’re doing when we pray is presenting our need and BELIEVING that God will do it. And if you are doing your best to trust the Lord and follow His Word, He will help you in your hour of need!

Anything wonderful can happen in that little margin of time when you don’t give up, but keep on believing and keep on praying! That frail sickly woman had only enough strength to draw close to Jesus, but when she ACTED on her little seed of faith, she made contact with the Lord.

What a blessing it is when we learn to contact God’s power through prayer. It is a spiritual seeking of that contact with His Spirit through OBEDIENCE to the Word of God that gets results!

It’s a shame that so many Christians today find their faith stronger in the men of medicine than in the Great Physician Himself, Jesus Christ. Actually, they haven’t lost FAITH, but they’ve just TRANSFERRED that faith to the MEDICAL profession! It’s not that doctors are bad, but they are not always necessary, or cannot help.

So often one will run to the medicine cabinet for one little ailment, ache or pain, without even considering that a simple prayer of faith could save them all that trouble! Even for a little HEADACHE, just a little faith in God can HEAL you! There’s nothing wrong with taking an aspirin, but why not give God a chance? PRAY that you may be healed, and He can not only HEAL you, but He can even show you what CAUSED it and how to avoid it or correct it!

One of the greatest of healing factors is FAITH, to know that God LOVES you and is going to take care of you no matter what happens. And did you know that faith not only heals, but it eliminates one of the greatest causes of disease and ill health? And that is fear and tension!

God is very willing to HEAL you and HELP you WHENEVER you need it! All you have to do is ASK! He says, “I am the God of all flesh; is there ANYTHING too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:37) Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you can ask what you will and it shall be done unto you!” (John 15:7) Have you asked the Lord for His healing power in your life?

* * *

  • Prayer is not only CHEAPER than medicine, but it is SURER too!
  •  

  • TRUSTING GOD for your healing keeps you close to the LORD, but trusting the DOCTOR for healing keeps you close to the DOCTOR –and BROKE!
  •  

  • Jesus MADE us, so He can FIX us!

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

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Integrity and Christian Ethics

Part 2

free-bible-studies-online-anchorPart one on this topic covered ethics, examples of integrity, one’s internal compass of right and wrong, and the Golden Rule. Ethics without a moral foundation is like having a compass without a true north. That would be useless. You need the “true north” of personal conviction and ethics, which comes from God’s Word, if you’re going to have a functioning moral compass.

In Ethics 101, John C. Maxwell warns us that, from his point of view, there are five factors that can tarnish the Golden Rule as it applies to our personal integrity. To understand the complete message, you’d want to read the author’s explanation in full, but the general concept can be explained as follows:

While it is possible for people to act ethically, no matter what their social or economic status is, several factors prevent many from doing so.

The first is pressure, especially the pressure to succeed, and to do so quickly. To fight this pressure, make yourself slow down and examine what you’re doing. Begin this self-examination by asking yourself questions. Are you acting on the spur of the moment? Or out of fear or pride? Will your actions compromise your ethical code? It also helps to display reminders of the reasons you would want to act ethically, such as pictures of your family or symbols of your faith.

Pleasure is the second threat to ethical action. Pleasure tempts everyone. But decisions based on pleasure are weak decisions. Discipline is your primary weapon against pleasure’s temptations. Train yourself to do what you should.

Power is the third threat. If you focus on how much power you can obtain, what you can achieve, and what you can get away with, rather than on what you should do, you’ll go astray.

Closely linked to power is pride. If you feel self-important, you will only focus on yourself and how wonderful what you’re doing is, rather than looking at your actions with clear focus to see if you’re doing what you should.

Finally, a lack of priorities can cause you to act unethically. If you haven’t clearly established your priorities, you’ll stumble. You’ll act on a lesser priority when you should act on a greater one. To avoid this obstacle, review your priorities daily and judge your actions against them.—John C. Maxwell

It would benefit each of us to allot some time to think about these five “enemies” of the Golden Rule and how they’ve impacted our lives.

When we have integrity, we know our values, and can communicate them to others. We act on our values and live according to our convictions. We take responsibility for our decisions.

As Christians, our ethics should be centered on God’s Word and the principles He has put forth for His children. Following the truth of God’s Word, being motivated by His love, and seeking to be an example of a sincere Christian are touchstones for the decisions we make.

If you are looking to clarify and strengthen your personal ethics, if you want to build personal integrity, you can study God’s Word, meditate on His precepts, listen to His still small voice speaking to your heart, and ask Him to speak to you.

Besides building your personal integrity through such spiritual steps, there are practical steps that can be helpful as well, such as:

  • Writing a personal mission statement.
  • Promising carefully and always honoring your promises. Under promising and over delivering is better than the reverse.
  • Being honest and avoiding exaggeration.
  • Thinking before you speak, and then speaking carefully and intentionally.
  • Following positive role models.
  • Weighing your decisions so that they consistently reflect your ethical values.
  • Drafting a personal Christian ethical code.—Robert L. Turknett and Carolyn N. Turknett

Here are some excerpts from real people’s ethical codes:

  • I will not promise confidentiality in situations where I know the law requires me to divulge information.
  • I will not knowingly profit from the ignorance of others.
  • I will not create incentives for others to act unethically.
  • I will stop bullies who are bullying someone, even if I don’t know them.
  • I will not drive under the influence of alcohol. If I feel even slightly light-headed, I will get a ride or take a taxi.—Ronald A. Howard and Clinton D. Korver

Other points that represent a good code of ethics for a personal mission statement are:

  • I will put the Lord first in my life and seek to please Him above all, even if this is not easy or convenient.
  • I will witness the truth and do my best to lead others to salvation and the knowledge of Jesus.
  • I will be an example of Jesus’ unconditional love and forgiveness to my spouse and children, even when I’m tempted to be impatient, angry, or judgmental.
  • I will give of my time and finances to help God’s work and the mission.
  • I will not abuse my body, the temple of God’s Spirit.
  • I will not gossip or speak ill of others.
  • I will not mislead others when promoting my business, charitable work, or projects.

There is the idea floating around these days that “nice guys finish last” or “nice girls don’t get the corner office.” But that’s not true. Not if “nice guys” or “nice girls” equal those who live good lives, who are kind and genuine, who know what they believe and stick to it; give of their time, service, and goods to others; sacrifice even to their own hurt when necessary, and put God and family first. Even if they don’t get the corner office in this world, they’ll finish first in God’s books and the race He has set before us.

There might be times when it looks like you’re losing or suffering because of your decisions to live according to godly principles and convictions, but that’s when the heavenly vision comes into the equation. You will never lose by putting Jesus and others first, and any sacrifice you make in this life will be more than repaid, not just in heaven but here and now. Jesus said:

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?—Mark 8:35–37

We all have the opportunity to live a life of no regrets! “The time is always right to do what is right!”—Martin Luther King Jr.

Do you strive to live a life of integrity based on Christian morals? You define what kind of person you are. Your actions and choices will convince people that you are “the genuine article”… or not.

Will you choose to do the right thing instead of taking the easy way out? How much are you willing to sacrifice in order to keep your integrity intact?

As Christians, people expect a lot of us. It’s our duty to strive to be an example of how Jesus would act and live. Thus our standard of integrity should align with biblical standards and what Jesus would expect us to have in our interactions and business with others. If we stray from that standard or act in unethical ways, we risk hurting people’s faith or even causing someone to turn away from the Lord. On the other hand, if you have strong Christian ethics and your integrity is rock solid, people will trust you, your mission work or business will be more fruitful, and you’ll be an example of Jesus’ love and truth. That equals success in our lives as Christians.

 
 

From the Roadmap series
Copyright © The Family International.