“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7) We tend to admire people who are courageous. It could be firemen, policemen, or warriors. Courage often forms the backbone for movies and novels. We naturally root for...
"Take heart" -- the Greek word here means to have confidence and firmness of purpose in the face of adversity or testing. It means that your heart is resolute. It means to be courageous, it means to be bold! It means that you know what you know and that you're going to go forward...
Why does Jesus' death matter? Not as some historical artifact of time passed, but why is it the center of what matters in my life and in your life? Matthew 27:1-45 talks about the death of Jesus, the murder at the center of all human history. With all that you have to do. With the...
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7)
We tend to admire people who are courageous. It could be firemen, policemen, or warriors. Courage often forms the backbone for movies and novels. We naturally root for heroic figures such as those in the Die Hard series or Frodo and his fellow travelers in Lord of the Rings.
Biblical heroes include David (who slew Goliath) and Daniel in the Lion’s den. They stood tall in the face of imminent death, trusting in the God who would save them.
God told Joshua, “Be strong and very courageous” (Joshua 1:7) and Joshua boldly went forward to conquer Israel’s foes.
The apostles and early church – with boldness and courage – proclaimed the gospel in often hostile environments and at risk to their very lives.
As Paul wrote, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). That same Spirit resides in us. Will we be strong and courageous like Joshua, David and Daniel? Will we exhibit the boldness and courage of the early church? Will we trust in God?
Jesus encourages us, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Let us all be overcomers with Christ. It is what we have been called and equipped to do.
Take heart! Jesus has already overcome the world!
"Take heart" -- the Greek word here means to have confidence and firmness of purpose in the face of adversity or testing. It means that your heart is resolute. It means to be courageous, it means to be bold! It means that you know what you know and that you're going to go forward relentlessly!
Guys, I'm telling you that loyalty to Jesus and basic courage in life really matter to God! So, whether you're a super masculine man who's 6'8" or whether you're a petite 4'11" young lady, you're called to courage and loyalty to live the message of Jesus at any cost.
Matthew 10:34-36 tells us that our life is lived in a war zone and so we shouldn't expect it to be easy. Remember where you are. Remember that in the movement of all human history, in the movement of the universe, it is a movement of four parts:
Creation - The Fall - Redemption - Restoration
This is the battle for redemption, you are NOT in the Restoration part yet!
So, the health and wealth gospel that tells us that God is going to bring all this good into your life, it is true...in the next chapter!
But in the restoration of all things you will live in a time when everything is perfect. You will live in a time where there will be no more mourning, no more crying, no more pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Rev 21:4). But Jesus said in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
That's not a very popular message, I'm a consumer, I'm an American, I want more stuff and I want happiness!
Jesus said, "In is world you will have trouble, but take heart...(have courage, show some spine) because I have overcome the world." In the same way Jesus overcomes the world, I'm telling you He expects us to overcome as well and to live the message at any cost!
"Do not suppose I have come to bring peace on earth, I did not..."(Matthew 10:34). I did not come to make your life on earth easy in this moment. I'm calling you into the battle for the redemption of the souls of men and women, and boys and girls! I'm calling you to make a choice in your life to leave behind this world and its lies and its seduction and to invest your life in a new kingdom and a new life that's coming! (Paraphrased)
I didn't come to make 'this world' a place of your happiness. I didn't come to give you a nice bed on the Titanic as it sinks down below the waves -I came to rescue you! I came to lead you to the life boat so that I can take you to a new land, a new country - to where everything would be whole again! Take heart. -Dr. Drew Shofner
Why does Jesus' death matter?
Not as some historical artifact of time passed, but why is it the center of what matters in my life and in your life? Matthew 27:1-45 talks about the death of Jesus, the murder at the center of all human history.
With all that you have to do. With the bills to pay, the schools to go to, the things to learn, the love to find, the love to give, the children to raise - whatever it is that so occupies your mind and your heart, whatever it is that you think is most important right now, there is something more important still. It is not some long ago disconnected event, it is the centerpiece of your life!
Romans 3:25 says "God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood." The Atonement is where Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for sins. So Jesus became a sacrifice, and by believing in the meaning of what God did in dying for us, our sins can be lifted, forgiven, erased - carried away!
It matters because Jesus' death defeats the gravity of 'The Fall' - that's what it does! In "The Fall," we chose our own way, we rebelled against God and the result was we were cast out of Eden. We wanted freedom from the love and relationship of God and what we got was insanity, chaos, brokenness and the gravity of sin introduced a cancer into all of life!
Gravity - There is this continual 'pulling down' of force that is unseen and unstoppable and it not only affects physical objects, it effects everything in your life!
Every good intention that you have.
It affects your mind and how you think about money and sexuality...there is a downward pull on those things.
Let's think about being depressed. What does being 'depressed' mean? It means something is pushing down!
In most of our lives, there are like one or two sins that are like drugs, they offer us something 'other than' God, and we turn to them over and over again. Then we say we'll never do that again and then 'gravity' happens and then the attempt to lift it up - but down it goes!
All of this is what the Bible tells us is part of 'The Fall'.
In Jesus' death, He was an atoning sacrifice that literally answered and canceled all of the sin of all of humanity - when we believe!
So the gravity of 'The Fall' is beaten, when we connect the death of Jesus with our living, and we can then live defying gravity until Heaven comes!
What I'm telling you is that when we believe in the death of Jesus, we become free and the downward force of the gravity is overcome!
Now I want you to understand, we are living in the age of redemption. There is an age of restoration that is coming when there will be no more sin!
No more downward pull. No more gravity!
But I until then, if you are a believer, do not think that you are a failure because you have to struggle - you are a great success! An airplane has to struggle to get off the ground and defy gravity! Even after it launches into the air, it can't then say "Ok, I'm in the air, everything should be easy, shut the engines off!" Yet, some believers say "Oh, I accepted Jesus, everything should be easy if God loves me, no more tears, no more pain, no more crying." No, that's heaven, but until then, we have to go through it, we have to keep moving forward, we have to overcome in faith through God's grace!
In our struggle, until the restoration, we have the promise of God that we do not have to be victims of our own lust, of our own consumerism, we do not have to live depressed and down, we can soar as high as the grace of God! There will always be a struggle here on planet earth, but so what, we can win! Jesus' death defeats the gravity of the fall; you are not fated to fail!
The scripture says, in 1 John 2:2, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world." Jesus died for you - If you and I will connect the meaning of His death to the ongoing meaning of our lives, everything changes! Father God I pray, in Jesus' name, that we would hear the story of the death of Jesus and that we would connect the meaning of His death to the living of our lives! -Dr. Drew Shofner