Our Only Hope

Wednesday, September 04, 2013, 8:33 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “To God Be the Glory” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Jeremiah 26 (ESV): http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2026&version=ESV

In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the Lord: “Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the Lord all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word. It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds. You shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord: If you will not listen to me, to walk in my law that I have set before you, and to listen to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send to you urgently, though you have not listened, then I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.’” ~ Jer. 26:1-6
Stand in the Courts

Jeremiah was instructed by God to stand in the court of the Lord’s house and to speak to all the cities of Judah that came to worship in the house of the Lord. The outer court was open to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews, but the inner court was for Jews only. It appears the court was an informal place of worship where people gathered together to worship God, to mingle with one another, and where Jesus and the apostles gave testimony to God’s saving grace. It was outside the walls of the actual temple, yet it served as a place where the people gathered together, so it was an ideal place for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, it was also a place for praising God for divine healing, and for giving him the glory (See Ac. 3:7-9). And, it was where the apostles, once released from prison by an angel of God, were instructed to go and stand and to tell the people about this new life in Jesus Christ. The early believers in Jesus Christ also met there day after day, and from house to house, and they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Amen!

So, where are our “temple courts” today? They are outside the institutional church, for one, i.e. they are outside institutional religion with its walls and its limitations for sharing the truth of the gospel. It is an open area where people are free to speak, teach and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since the temple is now within our hearts (within true believers), it is any area outside our physical bodies where people gather together to mingle and where we yet have the freedom to teach, proclaim the gospel, witness, give testimony of healing and of God’s saving grace, and where we can praise God out in the open without fear of reprisal, at least for now. In America, where we don’t have the freedom to just teach and share within the confines of the institutional church as God leads us, but where we are boxed in with man’s philosophies and marketing schemes for how to do church, and where public places are guarded against people just openly sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ without fear of arrest, the only place I know we can go where people gather together that is truly still open to the gospel of Jesus Christ is the internet –social sites and discussion sites. So, that is where we need to go, and it is where we need to stand and proclaim Jesus Christ.

Do Not Hold Back!

Not only was Jeremiah to speak to all the cities of Judah that came to the temple to worship God, but he was to tell them all the words God commanded him to speak, and he was not to hold back a word. Wow! In other words, he was not to omit anything God gave him to speak out of fear of reprisal. He was not to dilute the message in any way or to make it more palatable and more comfortable for his listeners. He was not to back down in any way, shape or form in order to comply with society around him, and in order to “fit in” and be accepted of humans, but he was to remain courageous, determined and committed to preach the full message just as God had given it to him to give out to others so they could be saved. He stuck to the message with steadfastness and with faithfulness to God. He did not waver in unbelief or out of fear of rejection of the people or of what they might do to him, and he knew full well that it could cost him his life. He also was not to soften the message in order to spare people’s feelings or to suit the culture around him. He was willing to die for the sake of the message God had given him to share, if that is what it took.

And, we need to have that same type of constancy, commitment, determination, faithfulness and steadfastness in our task of sharing the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ with those in our “outer courts,” too, wherever that may be. So many people are on social media sites and are on public discussion boards on the internet, so we should be there sharing the gospel with them. We can also have blogs and websites of our own which people can find through internet searches on various topics, and we can post stuff on sites such as YouTube, as well. There is a wide open (court) mission field right now on the internet, but it won’t be there forever. We can reach people all over the globe with the gospel of Jesus Christ with the touch of our fingers and right from our homes. And, many, many people can be saved because they heard the true gospel preached to them and because they came to Jesus Christ in repentance and obedience in response to his invitation to salvation by his grace through faith. We should not let this opportunity pass us by, but we also need to make sure we are preaching the full gospel message and that we are not omitting words or diluting the message in order to make people feel better about the gospel.

It May Be

We may never know how God may use our testimonies for him; our witness for him in people’s lives. We may see people only in passing, but if we share with them the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have planted that truth in their hearts. Some plant while others water, but it is God who makes the seed grow in people’s hearts. When we post our testimonies and our witness for Jesus Christ on the internet, we may not know at all who is being reached by these messages. Yet, if we do share that truth with others, it may be that they will listen and that they will turn from their evil ways. Not one person on this earth is beyond hope until they have already died. While they are still living, no matter how evil a person may be, he can still be saved if he repents of his sin and turns to walk in obedience to Jesus Christ (See Lu. 9:23-25; Eph. 2:8-9; 4:17-25; Rom. 3; 6; 1 John; Gal. 2:20, et al). So, we need to take advantage of these “outer courts” that are now available to us in order for us to share the true gospel with people so they can be saved, because it may just be that someone we may think would never accept Christ will become another Apostle Paul.

Repent and Obey

Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and all the people, saying, “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the words you have heard. Now therefore mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will relent of the disaster that he has pronounced against you. ~ Jer. 26:12-13

“Repentance” and “obedience” were the two main components of true faith in the Old Testament, and they are also the main components of true faith in the New Testament. Without them it is impossible to please God (See Heb. 11:6; Cf. Matt. 4:17; 11:20; Mk. 6:12; Lu. 5:32; 13:3; 24:47; Ac. 3:19; 17:30; 20:21; Matt. 28:19-20; Lu. 11:28; Jn. 8:51; 14:23-24; Ac. 5:32; Heb. 5:9; 1 Jn. 2:4-6; & 2 Jn. 1:6; ). So, God is still giving the same message and the same call today for us to turn from our evil (sinful) ways and to walk in faithful obedience to him, and he will bless us, and we will share in his glory.

So, if you have never accepted the Father in heaven’s invitation to eternal life through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ, I pray you will do so today. Or, if you have bought into a false gospel which teaches you don’t have to repent and obey, and therefore you are still dead in your sins, I pray you will turn from your sins today, that you will believe in Jesus Christ, and that you will turn to go with him wherever he leads you. Or, if you have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your lives, but have since drifted back into sin or complacency, I pray God will revive your hearts today and that you will renew your faith and commitment to obey him always. And, if you know the Lord Jesus, but you have been negligent in sharing your faith with others in your “outer courts,” I pray today that you will begin sharing his true gospel, and that you will not omit from or dilute the true message in order to make it more appealing, but that you will remain courageous and determined to share the whole gospel, for in it people can find life and the only hope there is for eternity.

To God Be the Glory / Fanny J. Crosby / William H. Doane

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.