Saturday, November 7, 2015, 10:01 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Fully Ready.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Jeremiah 18 (Select vv. NASB).

The Potter’s Wheel (vv. 1-6)

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.”

Almighty God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – created the world and everything in it, which was created. He made human beings to worship God, to honor and obey him, and to follow him wherever he leads. Yet, the first man and woman disobeyed God, and did what he forbade them to do. They sinned against God, so God banished them from the Garden, and he put a curse on them and on the earth. From that point on all who are born into this world are born with sin natures, separate from God, without hope, and destined to eternal punishment in hell. Yet, God had a plan to save us. He sent his Son Jesus Christ to the earth to take on human form, and to go through many of the same things we go through, yet he never sinned.

Jesus began his earthly ministry at around the age of 30. He healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, comforted the sorrowful and preached repentance for forgiveness of sins. He said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives, we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life. His NT apostles preached the same message. They taught that we must die to sin and live to righteousness. They taught that if we persist in conducting our lives according to our sinful flesh, we will die, but if by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live. Those who trust in Jesus Christ, God the Son, to be Lord and Savior of their lives, thus, die with Christ to sin, are transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and are given new lives in Christ to be lived in the power of the Spirit within them, in Christ’s holiness.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day in the Jewish temple did not like Jesus. They were jealous of his popularity and felt threatened by him, fearing they may lose their own positions of power and influence over the people if the people continued to follow Jesus. So, they plotted to kill him. They had him falsely arrested, falsely accused, given a mock trial, beaten beyond recognition, mocked, spat upon and crucified, although he had done no wrong. All of his closest companions deserted him when he was arrested. One of them betrayed him to death. Another vehemently denied three times that he knew him. So, what was it about him that they hated so much that they wanted him dead? They hated him mainly because he told them the truth about their sin, because he claimed to be God, because he exposed their hypocrisy for what it was, because he would not bow to them and conform to their religious norms, and because he told them that he was the only way to the Father, and that they could not come to the Father except through him.

When Jesus died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death. By his stripes we are healed! We receive this great salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. This faith dies with Christ to sin so that it can live with Christ to righteousness. When we enter into these new lives in Christ Jesus, God becomes our Lord (master), and we become his servants. We are like clay in his hands. He transforms us to the image of Christ, and he makes us holy. He nurtures us, encourages and strengthens us, and he leads and guides us in the way he would have us to go. Yet, we are still clay, i.e. we still live in flesh bodies, which means we can still sin, though we should no longer want to sin, for Jesus set us free from slavery to sin so that we are no longer under its control. Yet, sometimes believers in Jesus forget they have been cleansed of sin, and they go back to living in sin, and that is when the Potter says he wants to do with us like he did with that clay, i.e. he wants to remake (revive) us, renew us, and restore us to fellowship with him.

Turn From Evil Ways (vv. 11b-12, 15)

“Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.”’ But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’

…‘For My people have forgotten Me,
They burn incense to worthless gods
And they have stumbled from their ways,
From the ancient paths,
To walk in bypaths,
Not on a highway…

Many people today who call themselves Christians have abandoned the Lord, and they have abandoned the foundations of our Christian faith and the gospel according to Jesus and according to his NT apostles, and have, instead, adopted a softer gospel which does not require death to sin or living to righteousness. This lighter gospel teaches, in fact, that God does not require turning from sin or walking in obedience. They have reduced “faith” to some kind of emotional experience or intellectual assent to what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins, but there is no repentance, and thus there is no transformation, which means many people who think they are saved and bound for heaven have believed a lie which has given them a false hope of salvation and of eternal life with God. Or, if they did come to faith in Jesus Christ, and later they slipped back into sinful ways, they got on board with this diluted gospel message, because it helped dissuade any guilt they may have over sin, as well as it patted them on the backs and told them that they are really good, and that even in the depths of sinning against God they should see that God is smiling on them.

So, God is calling out to his wayward church to repent (turn from) their sins, and to return to their Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will for their lives. And, he is using his willing servants to give out such messages, and to share the truths of the gospel so that many can come to know Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives, and so his wayward people will come under conviction of the Holy Spirit, humble themselves before God, repent of their sins of idolatry and spiritual adultery, and be restored to fellowship with their Lord. Yet, many who call themselves Christians, but who have wandered off to follow after the gods of this world, will ignore such messages, and will continue in sin, claiming God’s grace covers it all. They have been taught, after all, that God winks at our sin, and that he requires no repentance or obedience, so salvation, to them, merely means an escape from hell and the hope of heaven when they die, no matter how they treat Jesus in this life.

Devised Plans (vv. 18-20)

Then they said, “Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah. Surely the law is not going to be lost to the priest, nor counsel to the sage, nor the divine word to the prophet! Come on and let us strike at him with our tongue, and let us give no heed to any of his words.”

Do give heed to me, O Lord,
And listen to what my opponents are saying!
Should good be repaid with evil?
For they have dug a pit for me.
Remember how I stood before You
To speak good on their behalf,
So as to turn away Your wrath from them.

Many of these professed Christians, who refuse to repent of their sins, hate those who are preaching repentance and obedience to Christ and his commands. They hate calls to return to the Lord, because they want to continue in their own way and to give themselves the hope that it will not mean hell for them. They don’t want to be confronted with their sins. They want to wallow in them. Many more have taken this rebellion beyond merely watering down the gospel so as to continue in sin guilt-free, but they have blended Christianity in with other religions and other religious or occult practices. Some of them are teaching mysticism as the way to find your true self, rather than finding themselves in Christ. And, so they have come up with a plan to silence those who still hold to the tenets of the Christian faith and practice. They try to persuade them to change their ways, or they threaten them or their family members. They use harassment techniques to try to instill fear in them so that hopefully they will back down, and will give up in fear of what humans may do to them. If these tactics don’t work, then the plan is to take them out permanently.

Jesus said we would be treated like he was treated. He said we would be hated, falsely accused, put in prison, beaten, persecuted, abandoned, betrayed, and denied, even by those closest to us, but that we should not be afraid. Those who can kill our bodies cannot kill our souls. We must remain strong in the Lord and in his mighty power, and daily put on our spiritual armor with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us. And we must trust the Lord and believe in his sovereignty, and that he is absolutely in control over every aspect of our lives. Nothing can come into our lives but what God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose, and that he will give us all we need in HIM to overcome, to endure, and to remain faithful to the end. So, don’t let their threats dissuade you from continuing to follow the Lord and to be his servants and witnesses. Put your hope fully in HIM. We are in HIS hands, and he will carry us to the end. Be willing to suffer and to die for Him. Amen!

Fully Ready! / An Original Work / June 19, 2013

Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8

Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.

May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”

“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”