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It is amazing that we are so soon overcome by distress. We look at the world around us and throw up our hands in dispair. We look at society, as a whole, and become distraught with its tolerance of sin and wickedness.
We pray,"Oh, that things weren't so bad." Let me share with you one great truth about the early church - they lived in a world much like the one we live in now. There was idol worship everywhere. Sin was rampant. Imorality was not hidden but open for all to witness. Look at Acts 17:16 (KJV) "16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry." BUT the church kept on. Now look at Romans 1:19-23 (KJV) "19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things" Yet, the church continued.
"How could this be, you may be asking?" It is rather simple - THEY WERE NOT LOOKING AT THEIR SURROUNDINGS; THEY WERE LOOK AT THEIR SAVIOUR!!! Hebrews 12:2-3 (KJV) "2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." The word "faint" here means "to grow weary" (Vine's). They kept looking to the One Who fulfilled God judicial command for sin "The wages of sin is death..." They realized the ONLY reason they were going to Heaven was the "death, burial, and resurrection" of the Lord Jesus Christ. It had NOTHING to do with them or what they could, or wouldn't do. Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV) "8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast." These are the verses God used in 1982 the night I trusted Christ as my Saviour. I had been preaching since 1977. When the preacher, Evangelist Grady Lemons, said, "If you do not know Who Jesus is and what He has done for you, you probably are not saved." I thought, "What does he mean what He (Christ) has done for me? Look at what I am doing for Him?" At that moment the Holy Spirit brought Ephesians 2:8,9 to my memory and I realized it had nothing to do with me. It was what Jesus Christ did FOR me NOT me for Him! That night I believed on Him and Him ALONE and God saved me (in spite of myself). What are you trusting in to get to Heaven, Him or yourself? Trust Him ALONE! Acts 16:25-31 (KJV) 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
From that day on keep looking unto "...Jesus, the Author and FINISHER of our faith..." When things look bad don't focus at your surrounding. PUT YOUR EYES ON HIM AND YOU WILL NOT GET WEARY.
Hebrews 12:2-3 (KJV) "2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." IT IS STILL AND ALWAYS WILL BE IN THE BOOK!