Posts

August 30, 2021

Ep.1193: Am I Failing as a Christian?

Defining what success and failure look like for disciples of Jesus

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:31]
Are we expected to change who we are or develop who we are?


[00:29:30]
Is my life supposed to be about everyone else or do I just need to focus on loving Jesus?


[00:46:52]
How often do I have to go to church and study the Bible?


Theme Scripture: Luke 6:27-28

So, what does it mean to be a Christian, and how do I know if I am doing it right? What happens if I am doing it wrong? Is there a clear-cut standard? Will Jesus be disappointed in me if I fall short? Am I expected to change who I am, or develop who I am? Is my life supposed to be about everyone else, or do I just need to really love Jesus? Am I in line to get everything I want, or do I have to give everything up? How often do I have to go to church? Should I pursue a career? Do I have to study the Bible all the time? While defining success or failure as a Christian is not an exact science, it is a vitally important understanding to have. As we address these questions, our objective will be to find the biblical answers that can guide us to living our daily lives in accordance with God’s will and word through Jesus.

Continue Reading

What are we measuring against?

To measure success or failure as a Christian, we need to understand the beginning basis of being a Christian. Jesus himself said in John 6:44 that nobody comes to him unless the Father first draws that person. Jesus also warned those who would follow him of the hardships they would face. He talked bluntly about "carrying your own cross." In those days, this would have been a horrifying image of pain and suffering. He also spoke clearly about counting the cost of a Christian lifestyle. These plain statements by Jesus simply tell us that discipleship begins with God drawing us. It continues with us answering that call with an eyes-wide-open weighing of its cost.

Now we have to live as a disciple

This is hard to do, as it touches on every aspect of our lives. So how do we measure success or failure here? Perhaps the first of many questions we need to ask ourselves is, how serious am I about being Jesus’ disciple? Measuring our seriousness can be done by observing our outward lifestyle and actions. What does who I spend time with and what I do with my time and resources say about me? The Bible gives us several markers along these lines. Our succeeding or failing as a Christian can be revealed by comparing these biblical standards with our lifestyle. Do you like what these comparative results show you?

Many of us will not be happy with what we see. Does this mean we are failing as Christians? Check out our August 30, 2021 podcast, “Am I Failing as a Christian?” for more. We delve deeply into these hard comparisons and several others as well. Most importantly, we open the door to working on where we fall short. Just because we may have lived a substandard Christian life yesterday does not mean we have to settle for it today. Join us and build an understanding of what discipleship really means so we can all clearly focus on “walking the walk” of Jesus and not just “talking the talk.”

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October 04, 2021

Ep.1198: Am I Passionate or Complacent About Jesus?

Understanding passion’s role and complacency’s danger in Christianity

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CHAPTERS

[00:16:03]
How can we recognize the dangers of complacency?


[00:31:58]
How can our passion keep us on the path of Christian transformation?


[00:50:03]
Should we be less emotional and more firm in our calling?


Theme Scripture: Philippians 3:13

Every Christian loves Jesus and every Christian wants to be acceptable to him. None of us ever wants to take his sacrifice on our behalf for granted. We don’t want to fall into a pattern of complacency where we don’t appreciate the blessings he gives us. While these are all well-stated intentions, we need to dig in much deeper to see how to make them well-lived principles. How do we actually live our love for Jesus, and what role does passion play in that life? Where do the dangers of complacency lurk? Is all passion positive? Is feeling content really expressing a lack of appreciation for what God does for us? Fortunately, the Scriptures give us very clear answers to all of this!

Continue Reading

Are I spiritually complacent?

To be complacent is to be in a self-satisfied state with little or no awareness of deficiencies or danger. This is a really easy and appealing state of mind, as it focuses on everything being just the way we want it to be. The lack of awareness issues that come with it can be easily ignored by simply smothering them with our feelings of satisfaction. Out of sight, out of mind.

This is obviously a dangerous place to live if we are Christians. The very idea of self-satisfaction is in direct contradiction to our stated focus of following Jesus. The Pharisees reminded us of how blinding complacency can be. Of all the people in Israel, they had the best education and the best access to their Holy Scriptures regarding the coming of their Messiah. When Jesus arrived they rejected him, choosing to rely on their power and position instead of the prophecies in God’s Word. They were just too comfortable to see the error of their ways. That comfort caused them to lose God’s favor.

Can I be too passionate?

Passion is the other side of the story. Passion is a strong feeling, be it positive or negative that can drive us to action. We all have experienced our own passion. We have also seen it in others. One obvious observation that needs to be clearly stated is that all passion is not good. As a matter of fact, most of our passions tend to bring us down dark roads that often dead-end at regret. Why? Most passion is emotion-driven, and many of our emotions are self-centered and riddled with sin.

So, how are we supposed to be passionate about Jesus if passion can be just as bad as complacency? Check out our October 4, 2021 podcast, “Am I Passionate or Complacent About Jesus?” to expose the pitfalls of complacency. We break down and discuss how passion works. How can we find godly and compelling motivation to put Christ-centered passion in place? Managing the passions in our lives can be just as challenging as avoiding the complacency traps that surround us. Join us for this enlightening journey towards true discipleship and true passion for Jesus!

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September 18, 2021

Ep.: Why should we preach the Gospel to others who end up sinning against the spirit?

“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:47-48

The servant in the above scripture had much knowledge of the Word of God through the holy spirit. He made a choice to serve his Master and become a disciple. Therefore he was responsible for the knowledge he had as well as for the requirements it entailed. However, he did not prepare himself by sacrificing his will to do the will of God. 

Consequently, he committed some willful sins. That is why he deserved many stripes. If one is given much “light” by the Lord, much is required of him. Conversely, the other man had little “light” or knowledge and even though he did things deserving of punishment, he was not chastised severely because less was expected of him. 

It is important to note that no one forced the first man to become a servant of the Lord. Jesus tells us in a parable that there is a cost to being his disciple and that one should first count that cost. 

“And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For it he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Luke 14:27-30) 

Obviously, the servant did not count the cost before he chose to become a disciple of the Lord. He did not realize that he would have to give up everything, including his old nature in order to follow Jesus. 

Why, then, would we want to enlighten our loved ones if that enlightenment might lead to their receiving “stripes” (chastisement by the Lord). The answer is that we are not to question who God calls, nor are we to influence the choices others make. It is our duty as Christians to tell our loved ones the good news that the Lord is calling out a select few, a “little flock,” to be his Bride to reign with Him in heaven. 

The opportunity to be part of God’s Church is still available to those who are willing to completely give up their wills in sacrificial living in order to serve Jesus with all their hearts and minds. 

No one has the right to withhold information (knowledge or “light”) so that loved ones may be spared “stripes” should they need chastisement on their journey as servants of the Lord. Furthermore, God only gives “stripes” for willful activities and only for the ultimate good of the recipient. God is not vengeful and does not punish for the sake of punishing. He is just and punishes for the sake of life. Therefore, it is definitely the Christian’s responsibility to inform his loved ones of the opportunity to serve God, but also tell them to count the cost before they make their decision. 

To learn more about the cost of being a disciple, listen to, “What Does Discipleship Cost?”

To learn more about our responsibility of converting others listen to, “Are Christians Supposed to Convert the World?”

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September 14, 2021

Ep.: Did Jesus have women disciples?

The Bible does not specify just how many women traveled with Jesus and his male disciples, but Luke records the names of a prominent few and mentions “many others.”  

“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.  The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others.  Many of these women were helping to support [minister] them out of their own means.” (Luke 8:1-3)  

The Greek verb here in this last verse is diakoneo, “to serve, minister,” from which we get our word “deacon.” In this verse it is found in the imperfect tense, meaning continual and habitual activity in the past.  They supplied Jesus’ financial needs again and again.  Luke is recounting the typical way that Jesus’ ministry was supported.  We are told of no other supporters of Jesus’ mission than these women.  They generously met the needs of Jesus and his band out of their own family fortunes. Even though in many towns and villages there was an outpouring of hospitality, these women were consistent in their financial support.  

Jesus’ team of men and women disciples may be thought of as a picture of the spiritual church in which all are one with Christ Jesus.  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

To learn more about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus listen to, “What Does Discipleship Cost?”

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August 31, 2021

Ep.: What does “cross bearing” mean?

Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)  

Jesus is telling his disciples that if they want to follow his example, they must deny their own self wills, just as he did, by sacrificing earthly interests and ambitions.  Since the cross was known as an instrument of death, Jesus used this illustration to impress on his disciples what complete commitment to him meant – sacrifice and self-denial.  It meant the death of self-will.  The cross represents the trials, difficulties and disappointments that the Christian encounters as he places God’s will ahead of his own will.  

 “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) 

Here Jesus is saying that nothing in this life is worth keeping if it means losing eternal heavenly life to which the Christian was called.  

It is interesting to note that actual death and physical persecution for Christians were real possibilities in the past and still are in some parts of the world today.  In other places, the cost of cross bearing may be exacted emotionally rather than physically.  Nonetheless, although following Jesus does not necessarily mean physical death, the Christian should be willing to die or suffer anything rather than deny Jesus.  

What is true cross-bearing?  It is the cost of being a disciple of Jesus, which involves commitment to the point of giving up our hopes, dreams, possessions, even our lives if need be. This is the only acceptable attitude of a true disciple of the Lord.  “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27)

To learn more about what it means to live a life of sacrifice listen to, “Does Being a Christian Have To Be Difficult?”

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August 30, 2021

Ep.1193: Am I Failing as a Christian?

Defining what success and failure look like for disciples of Jesus

If you do not have a password, please subscribe to our FREE Premium Content for the Full Edition version of CQ Rewind. The welcome message will contain your password, and a reminder will be sent each week when the CQ Rewind is available online for you to read, print, or download.

CHAPTERS

[00:13:31]
Are we expected to change who we are or develop who we are?


[00:29:30]
Is my life supposed to be about everyone else or do I just need to focus on loving Jesus?


[00:46:52]
How often do I have to go to church and study the Bible?


Theme Scripture: Luke 6:27-28

So, what does it mean to be a Christian, and how do I know if I am doing it right? What happens if I am doing it wrong? Is there a clear-cut standard? Will Jesus be disappointed in me if I fall short? Am I expected to change who I am, or develop who I am? Is my life supposed to be about everyone else, or do I just need to really love Jesus? Am I in line to get everything I want, or do I have to give everything up? How often do I have to go to church? Should I pursue a career? Do I have to study the Bible all the time? While defining success or failure as a Christian is not an exact science, it is a vitally important understanding to have. As we address these questions, our objective will be to find the biblical answers that can guide us to living our daily lives in accordance with God’s will and word through Jesus.

Continue Reading

What are we measuring against?

To measure success or failure as a Christian, we need to understand the beginning basis of being a Christian. Jesus himself said in John 6:44 that nobody comes to him unless the Father first draws that person. Jesus also warned those who would follow him of the hardships they would face. He talked bluntly about "carrying your own cross." In those days, this would have been a horrifying image of pain and suffering. He also spoke clearly about counting the cost of a Christian lifestyle. These plain statements by Jesus simply tell us that discipleship begins with God drawing us. It continues with us answering that call with an eyes-wide-open weighing of its cost.

Now we have to live as a disciple

This is hard to do, as it touches on every aspect of our lives. So how do we measure success or failure here? Perhaps the first of many questions we need to ask ourselves is, how serious am I about being Jesus’ disciple? Measuring our seriousness can be done by observing our outward lifestyle and actions. What does who I spend time with and what I do with my time and resources say about me? The Bible gives us several markers along these lines. Our succeeding or failing as a Christian can be revealed by comparing these biblical standards with our lifestyle. Do you like what these comparative results show you?

Many of us will not be happy with what we see. Does this mean we are failing as Christians? Check out our August 30, 2021 podcast, “Am I Failing as a Christian?” for more. We delve deeply into these hard comparisons and several others as well. Most importantly, we open the door to working on where we fall short. Just because we may have lived a substandard Christian life yesterday does not mean we have to settle for it today. Join us and build an understanding of what discipleship really means so we can all clearly focus on “walking the walk” of Jesus and not just “talking the talk.”

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August 27, 2021

Ep.: Can a carnal man ask Jesus to come into their heart?

To be carnally minded means to be fleshly minded or preoccupied with self and things of this world. Such a mind is in opposition to God since God would have us selflessly dwell on spiritual things. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7-8) 

Can a carnally minded man ask Jesus to come into his heart? Yes, we believe he can if he recognizes that he is a sinner and is serious about changing his old sinful thought patterns. Such a step requires determination and effort. 

2 Peter 1:5-8, tells us to “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness; love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Although the Apostle lists eight virtues that are required of the Christian, the last seven are only of value as they are built upon the firm foundation of the first virtue, faith. 

Faith is defined for us in Hebrews 11:1 as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” As we become mature Christians, trusting our heavenly Father in all things, our faith deepens and motivates us to cultivate the elements of character that are pleasing to Him. However, cultivating Christian character is a lifelong process. It is a daily life work; a process of addition, adding virtue to virtue, grace upon grace, day-by-day and hour-by-hour. 

Is it possible for an individual to possess all the characteristics of a Christian at the same time? Yes, it is possible to do so and that should be our goal. But, can we bare all the characteristics perfectly all of the time? No, we cannot because we ourselves are imperfect, sinful, and fall short of the mark. 

The Apostle Paul in Romans 7:21 said, “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. In verse 24 he says, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” He answers his question in the very next verse, Romans 7:25. “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” 

Realizing that even the Apostle Paul fell short and prayed to the Lord for strength encourages us to resist discouragement. “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” (Proverbs 24:16) The Lord sees our heart’s intent and accepts it for the deed. We humbly come before Him asking forgiveness and He uplifts us through His word and His holy spirit. It is by His strength and His strength alone that we are able to overcome our sinful natures.

 “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) By focusing on the Kingdom of God and His many precious promises and by asking for His help in every time of need, we can truly become “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). 

When a person asks Jesus to come into his heart he sacrifices his old self will to do the will of God in all matters of life.

“I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8) 

The Christian’s role model is Jesus, God’s dear Son, who did his Father’s will perfectly, even unto death. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) 

The Apostle Paul explains what it means to surrender our wills. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices (the slaughter of self-will), holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2) 

Is it possible for a carnal man to ask Jesus to come into his heart? Yes, it is, providing he is willing to turn his back on sin, follow the will of God and emulate the character of His son Jesus.

To learn more about what it means to follow Jesus listen to, “Jesus Died For You! Are You Dying For Him?”

(8)

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July 05, 2021

Ep.1185: What Are the True Reasons for Jesus’ Return to Earth?

Uncovering the remarkable and inspiring mission of Jesus’ return

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:41]
Does the return of Jesus bring Armegeddon?


[00:27:17]
Does the return of Jesus create a showdown with Satan?


[00:45:22]
What one word sums up the core reason for the return of Jesus?


Theme Scripture: Revelation 3:20

Jesus changed the world when he came to earth as a man over 2.000 years ago. His character, teaching, miracles and wisdom were and still are unmatched anywhere and anytime. As impactful as his first coming to earth was, he was very specific to let his followers know he would be returning again. Many who look at the prophecies of the second coming see them as foretelling a time of calamity and trouble. While these expectations do carry elements of truth, is the return of Jesus to earth for the purpose of mayhem and destruction? We believe the answer to this question to be an unequivocal no! Further, we believe the reasons for his return are wrapped up in the carrying out of God’s loving plan for all humanity.

Continue Reading

The plan of God

Every Christian will tell you that God has a plan and Jesus is the centerpiece of that plan. Yet, most of us look at Jesus’ return to earth as a wholesale destruction of those who did not accept him as their savior. Let’s evaluate this for a minute. Jesus’ first coming was to save the world. He offered his life as payment for sin. Since then, MOST of the world has not heard of Jesus, and therefore have no path to salvation. So, his coming to save the world was a failure for most of humanity. Does this sound right?  Further, many of us see his second coming as the final destruction for that mostly-failed first coming. There is obviously something very wrong with this approach.

Is the presence of Jesus in both timeframes two parts of the same mission?

What if we look at both advents on earth as two parts of the same mission? What if we looked more deeply into the Scriptures and found that everything Jesus did 2,000 years ago was connected to his return in our day? Let’s consider just one “what if” example. Jesus paid the price for Adam’s sin when he came the first time. Romans 5:18 clearly states that all humanity suffered the condemnation of Adam’s sin. They would, therefore, ALL be given justification because of Jesus’ sacrifice. What if Jesus’ second presence was for the purpose of applying that justification to all those who are not his called-out ones? What if the trouble that accompanies Jesus’ return was to destroy the satanic influences in the world - and not the people?

Whether this approach sounds intriguing or outrageous to you, please check out our July 5th, 2021 podcast, “What Are the True Reasons for Jesus’ Return?” for more. We look at several specifics of the mission of Jesus from two centuries ago. We examine:

  • the price he paid
  • the healing he did
  • the salvation he offered to Israel
  • the calling out of a people for his name

We trace how the Bible shows us each part of his ministry - as a precursor of or a preparation for - his return. Seeing Jesus’ second advent in this scriptural light changes everything. Join us and watch as God’s plan for all humanity unfolds!

 

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April 19, 2021

Ep.1174: Did God Make Heaven and Hell Humanity’s Destiny? (Part I)

Uncovering who goes to heaven and what happens to planet Earth

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:07]
Does the Bible say the earth will be burned up?


[00:30:15]
What does heaven look like for the followers of Jesus?


[00:45:16]
Who exactly goes to heaven and who doesn't?


Theme Scripture: Matthew 6:10

The general consensus in Christianity is that there are two paths, two destinies that await humanity. First, there is the heavenly bliss of being with Jesus. After all, Jesus himself said he was preparing a place for his followers in heaven and that he would bring us there. Second, there is the fiery torturous eternal existence of hell. This is reserved for everybody else who did not follow Jesus. While this “two destiny” approach may sound simple, it does not stand the test of scrutiny. For starters, the fact is the vast majority of humanity has not known or accepted the name of Jesus. Does this mean God’s careful creation of humanity “in His image” was a resounding failure? And what about planet Earth? If it is doomed for a fiery end, then why did Jesus tell us to pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth? These are just the beginning of some big questions, so let’s see if we can find big biblical answers!

Continue Reading

Is the earth burned up or not?

To best comprehend the eternal destiny of humanity, we need to look carefully at Bible prophecy beginning with earth. Some scriptures seem to indicate the earth will be burned up and every living thing upon it will be destroyed. While this sounds disturbing, the good news is that it is simply not true. On the contrary, we believe the earth will be an eternal habitation in a perfected state in the future. How can we say this when 2 Peter 3:10 reads “…the earth and its works will be burned up.”?

The key is understanding what is literal and what is figurative in Scripture. How would we respond to the skeptic who says we can determine something to be figurative to make it fit our narrative? The answer here is to have integrity. Not just personal integrity. We also absolutely need to maintain the clear and consistent teachings of God’s word from beginning to end. The Bible tells us what is true if we allow its message to surface!

Check out our April 19, 2021 podcast, “Did God Make Heaven and Earth Humanity’s Destiny? (Part 1)” for more. We dig into several Old Testament prophecies written at different times, in different places by different prophets. We find is a crystal-clear narrative that explains not only what will happen to earth, but why it will happen. These biblical texts are an absolute key in understanding the destiny of humanity in God’s plan.

How do you REALLY get to heaven?

With the question of earth settled, we next take a scriptural look at heaven.  Who goes to heaven, why do they go and what do they have to do to qualify? The bottom line is: If we want to know where the righteous and unrighteous of humanity go for eternity, we need to understand what is real and what is not according to the Bible. Join us for this revealing two-part discovery series!

 

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April 19, 2021

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(4)

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April 05, 2021

Ep.1172: How Did Jesus’ Resurrection Change Both Heaven and Earth?

Uncovering the far-reaching effects of Jesus' sacrifice

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CHAPTERS

[00:14:13]
How did the spirit realm dramatically change after Jesus was raised?


[00:29:11]
What is the future of the spirit realm relating to the battle between good and evil?


[00:44:40]
As a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, what will planet earth look like in the future?


Theme Scripture: Philippians 2:10

As Christians, we unequivocally herald the death and resurrection of Jesus as being the absolute centerpiece of our faith. Further, we claim that the entire purpose of our Holy Bible is focused on these events as its primary message. These descriptions are overwhelmingly accurate. But why? Many Christians will answer that we are saved as a result of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and this is true. Others will say these events are proof of God’s loving plan for humanity, and this is true as well.  Let’s now take the time to look at these spectacular events through a different lens. Let’s observe them through the lens of change. What changed and will change in heaven as a result of Jesus’ death and resurrection? What changed and will change on earth? The answer on both counts is...plenty!

Continue Reading

Shocking change

What if I told you the death and resurrection of Jesus were the greatest change agents in all of the history of all of God’s creation? Would that seem like a stretch? In this recent podcast we examined the effects of these events from four very specific standpoints. We found a staggering amount of scriptural evidence to support this claim.

Sons of God

The first of the four areas the death and resurrection of Jesus dramatically changed is focused on our world today. Before these events, God dealt exclusively with His chosen people of Israel. Their relationship with Him was based on His sovereignty over them. Israel had to follow the rites and rituals of the Law to maintain His favor. After Jesus, a new way opened up. It is a way that enables us to be called "sons of God." This change is far more dramatic than most give it credit for. Previously, Adam and Jesus were the only humans to ever be called God’s sons. But now because of Jesus’ faithfulness, God’s spirit can dwell within us. That opens the door to sonship.

Further, remember that the gospel call became an invitation that could be heard worldwide. The name of Christ stands for positive influence, even though it has been tarnished and misused by powerful denominations over time. Think of how much better a place the world is as a result of true Christianity.

These things just scratch the surface of the changes that the death and resurrection of Jesus brought to our world today. We haven’t even considered the changes that have occurred within the spiritual realm. There is a present spiritual battle between good and evil raging everyday. Jesus stands right in the middle of it! Check out our April 5, 2021 podcast, “How Did Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Change Both Heaven and Earth?” for more. We outline how both the earthly and spiritual realms are different. More importantly, we look into the future and see how both will change in the future because of Jesus. Don’t miss this conversation, as it will deepen your reverence for our Lord and Master!

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