Sparks from the Gospel Anvil
Mark 1:14, 15
People today are not seen as being lost in sin so repentance is not preached. The devil is busy at work destroying or distorting the message of repentance, so we as Christians today must refute his sayings and rely upon The Holy Scriptures. Ezekiel 14:6 tells us that, “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your
abominations.” Again the Bible says, “ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38) And again the Bible says, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:” (Acts 17:30) So it is God that commands all men everywhere to repent, He does not beg or ask you to repent, but commands it. The Bible doctrine of repentance is the most neglected doctrine in the New Testament. There are many that don’t like to hear it, many like to hear about the Love of God, but many have heard about that so much that they have become lovesick. God has done everything to save you, if you are lost, if you are separating yourself from the Kingdom, it is not God’s fault, it is your fault and my fault. The average conception today about God is not as a father, but as a grandfather. But understand this, God is not a grandfather to spoil you, God is a God of justice. If you do wrong you must suffer the consequences. If you die and not repent and receive Christ, there is no hope for you in 2 worlds. Yet, pastors, evangelists and missionaries have made it too easy to get into the Church, we have counted heads and not hearts. The trouble is not that there are so many backsliders, but that there has never been frontsliders. If a person is sick, they go to the doctor and follow their advice. If they are in trouble, they go to a lawyer and be guided by their counsel. But when a person is interested in their own soul, they go to the pastor for a prescription and then go out and say, “That preacher doesn’t know anything”.
There is only one entrance into the Kingdom of God and that is through the door of repentance. This is the most unpopular Bible doctrine. One man asked Jesus “what can I do to inherit the Kingdom- Jesus said, “You must enter the Strait and Narrow Gate”, Another man came said “I will go with you” and Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nest, but the Son of Man have no place to lay His head.” The crowds that followed Jesus did not grasp His message. Christ never made it easy to follow Him. Jesus tells us, “If any man would be my disciple let him take up his cross and follow me.” We tell people its only a step to Christ, that’s a lie. We are so excited for someone to join the church that we go out and get anybody. But if the devil were to come in and take some of the members with him, we would dare not shout, “Stop thief”, for he would only be taking his own. In those early days, of the preaching of John the Baptist, King Herod liked his preaching, until one day the preacher stepped on the toes of this king. He went into the throne room and saw a woman sitting beside this ruler. John could have easily kept his mouth shut, he could have stayed out of Herod’s business. Instead this brave and fearless preacher said, “Herod it is not lawful that you have this woman at your side!” and because Herod wanted the woman he became greatly angered at the preacher and had him locked up in a prison cell. Eventually, John the Baptist had his head chopped off for preaching repentance. It wasn’t too long after Christ went to Glory, that He sent the Apostle Paul to preach repentance to the Gentiles. As it was in the days of John, Jesus and Paul, so it is today. Sin is popular; it is spelled with a small “s” and people try to take the sting and cancer out of it. They dress it in silk, put it all over the media and perfume it, but SIN is still God’s enemy and man’s eternal foe. You cannot say the word SIN without hearing the hiss of the serpent in it. All the trouble that you and I have has been caused by sin. Sin brings death, if there was never any sin there would never be any death. It builds every hospital, every prison. Sin is the greatest heart disease this old world has ever known and yet we can’t get people to stop fooling around with it! That is why there is a call for repentance. Have you repented today from your sins and turned your back on them? Repentance is not sorrow, fear, it is not conviction, not promise to do better. Repentance is coming to the Lord Jesus Christ and not turning back to your old way of life. We are called to forsake it! Do it today!
Lt. Charles Smith is commanding officer of the Salvation Army of El Dorado.
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Miracle of Resurrection—Fire of the Holy Spirit
The Fire of the burning bush must have been one spectacular sight for the seasoned shepherd Moses. Moses took off his sandals when the voice of I AM spoke and bowed before the presence of Creator God. God was displayed by a blazing Fire unquenched in a bush standing complete in green integrity.
This event would initiate Moses as a lawgiver and he would now go forth with the Law of Commandments written on two stone tablets by God’s finger and execute conviction to Israel of sin and judgment. For the next 1,500 years the Law of Commandments delivered by the Fire of God would guide and develop a nation to a point where only a remnant, Judea, exists within the Roman Empire.
Sunday, the day of Pentecost, finally arrived as foretold by the prophet Joel. About 120 men and women were assembled per instructions from the Resurrected Savior awaiting power that would come from on high. They were in constant prayer possibly in the same upper room where just weeks before Jesus washed their feet and communed with his last supper. “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (languages) as the Spirit enabled them”, Acts 2.1-4. This event initiates these chosen ones now to become as “Lawgivers”, like Moses, except with the Law of the Holy Spirit. The Church is born through baptism and the gift of God’s Holy Spirit is poured out on all. First century members devote themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship with each other, to breaking of bread and prayer. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold their possessions and gave to anyone as they had need. They met together daily in the temple, praising God and enjoyed the favor of all the people (Acts 2.42-47). The power of Fire is seen in the thousands of responses to Jesus’ resurrection in 1st century Judea.
The Fire of the Spirit has not gone out to this day. This Fire burns and illuminates as much as men and women are willing to be controlled by the Spirit of God. Christians walk in the Spirit, abide in the Spirit, and are led by the Spirit (Gal 5.16-18). The Law of the Spirit has been on the earth now for about 2000 years convicting men about sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16.8-11). May the Spirit continue to refine us by Fire (Romans 8). The Fire was not quenched for Moses, it was not quenched for the early Christians, and we are encouraged to keep the Fire burning: “Quench not the Spirit” (KJV-BRG) and “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (NIV) (1 Thes 5.9). The Spirit’s Fire is indeed a Miracle of the Resurrection!
Scott Johnson is pastor at East Faulkner Church of Christ and author of the BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to email@example.com.