Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Psalms 43

We Were Spiritually Dead

February 13 – Today’s Readings – Mark 7-9 and Psalms 43

Mark 8: 34-35 reads; “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.”

Now come with me to Ephesians 2: 4-6; “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”

What is all this talk of dying, taking up a cross, and being “raised” with Christ? It all has to do with a spiritual truth – that of having only one way out from the “Kingdom of Darkness”.

When we “get saved” or are “born again”, we experience “a death” to ourselves so that the “spirit-man” inside of us can live in Jesus. The cross we are to carry is simple – we completely identify with Jesus and the tremendous price He paid when He died on the cross. His cross becomes our cross, His death becomes our death and His resurrection becomes our resurrection. We die to an old life where we were held captive in a kingdom of sin and we are raised with Christ to be born a second time spiritually. Ephesians says we then are seated with Christ. This too is a spiritual thing where we are no longer captives but are free – and sitting in a victorious place. After all, where is Christ seated if not in a position of supreme authority!

Yes we lose our lives, but we gain genuine life. Of course we lay down our rights but we gain real authority and freedom. By consent, we no longer go our own way – but we acquire access to the only true way, that of following Jesus.

We can’t have it both ways. We either receive Christ by grace and faith or we continue on trying to live for two masters. It is impossible to please God unless we have faith – faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and faith that we now live in Christ, identifying with His death on the cross and His resurrection to eternal life. We can’t serve God in this way and still have our focus on the world and the sin which can so easily entangle us.

What is the conclusion of this matter? Live in Christ and you will drawn irrepressibly to doing the right thing – He has delivered you from all sin that held you down. Follow Him and you will not want to follow another.

Questions:

1. What does it mean to you personally to “take up your cross”?

2. What does it mean to you personally to “be seated with Christ in heavenly realms”?

God Is Pleading

August 13 – Today’s Readings – Jeremiah 49-50 and Psalms 43

Jeremiah 49:3-8 reads, “Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is destroyed! Cry out, O inhabitants of Rabbah! Put on sackcloth and mourn; rush here and there inside the walls, for Molech will go into exile, together with his priests and officials. Why do you boast of your valleys, boast of your valleys so fruitful? O unfaithful daughter, you trust in your riches and say, ‘Who will attack me?”“Concerning Edom: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Is there no longer wisdom in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom decayed? Turn and flee, hide in deep caves, you who live in Dedan, for I will bring disaster on Esau at the time I punish him.”

Jeremiah 49:28-31 continues, “Concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked: This is what the LORD says: ‘Arise, and attack Kedar and destroy the people of the East. Their tents and their flocks will be taken; their shelters will be carried off with all their goods and camels. Men will shout to them, ‘Terror on every side!’ ‘Flee quickly away! Stay in deep caves, you who live in Hazor,’ declares the LORD. ‘Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has plotted against you; he has devised a plan against you. ‘Arise and attack a nation at ease, which lives in confidence,’ declares the LORD, ‘a nation that has neither gates nor bars; its people live alone.”

City after city – nation after nation – entire people groups – and of course to individuals – God speaks judgment against them as a consequence of their hardened hearts. This theme is so repetitive in scripture that we begin to wonder; “God what is the big picture You are trying to paint for us?”

It’s quite a simple but very sobering truth. The judgment coming to the earth has everything to do mankind refusing to acknowledge God and come into right relationship with Him. One society of people after another will fall – people who have refused to turn to the Lord – people who have rejected God – people who have said “no” to the “good news” of a loving, caring Heavenly Father. All these people have a simple verdict spoken against them – “You rejected me, even though all creation witnessed my presence – therefore you have separated yourselves from me ” How real is this going to be? It seems so far away. It seems like a fairy tale. It seems like only meaningless words but Jesus said final judgment would come like a “thief in the night.” There will be a great sound and the miraculous appearance of the Judge of the whole Earth. He will come – not with mercy and grace for those who have persisted in sin but with a pronouncement of the end of days as we know them. If only we could get a better grasp of this it would help us to tell others of the Gospel. Maybe this is why Jeremiah repeats his words of judgment against the nations again and again – he’s like a teacher trying to remind his students; “This will be on the final exam – This is the real thing!”

Questions:

1. Give other examples from Scripture where God reaches out to people –pleading with them to repent.
2. Was there ever a time in your life where God pleaded with you to repent? Tell about it.

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