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greggordon

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    Greg Gordon is the founder of SermonIndex.net, which was established in 2002. Millions of audio sermons have been distributed through this world-wide ministry. He is also the author of "The Following of Christ" and other books. Greg has traveled to many countries and across North America to thousands of churches and ministries bringing a message of radical Christian discipleship. He has also been involved in organizing over 12 international historic revival conference events where thousands of lives were impacted.
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  1. “Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy” – Psalm 86:1 As days go by in our life here on earth so many times our focus gets fixed on something transient and passing. Daily cares of life, all the needs and desires of others in our lives, even our own ambitions, and goals sometimes cloud the vision for what really matters. Remember when you started to know the Lord, the day you bowed your knee and spoke with your Lord who redeemed you? Remember the awe in your heart for Him who died for you? How sitting at his feet for hours was easy? We all can drift from this intimate focus on the Lord, where our hearts desire was for Him to just hear us and answer. Where we had a poor and needy attitude of being poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). If you have drifted from this goal, you can still put your main aim to know Jesus more intimately, He is waiting for you. There is a wonderful contemporary song that captures some of the heart of being a friend with Jesus but still having great fear and awe in what He did for us, here are some of the lyrics: Wonderful, merciful Saviour Precious Redeemer and Friend Who would’ve thought that a Lamb could Rescue the souls of men Oh, You rescue the souls of men Here in our weakness You find us Falling before Your throne Oh, we’re falling before Your throne Today, set your heart back to the place where you first found Him. Not in just Bible reading, or in ministry endeavours or other Christian things, but in that place where you sat at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10:39) for Him alone. One day we will bow at His feet in heaven in adoration. Let us also now be found at His feet in intimate worship and relationship. Lord, I bow today before Your feet, I look to Your face and just long to hear words from Your mouth. Forgive me for being so distracted with other things. Precious Lord let me know You more intimately day after day until I see you soon. Amen.
  2. Whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbour, and casts no slur on others. - Psalm 15:3 The psalmist David speaks of the type of person who can dwell near the Lord. When we speak against someone's reputation this is never a light thing. One who God dwells near should have absolutely no slander in his lips or in the heart. We all judge others or form opinions in our minds of others, we must be quick to cast down thoughts that are not based on our personal experience of the individual. When we hear stories or third-party stories of another brother and sister in the Lord and then cast a judgment we err. It is even worse when we take part in slandering someone when we have never known or spoken with the actual individual being blamed. Even if a brother or sister has erred in a significant way this is not our job or right to slander them, rather we should seek to pray for them and show the love of God. If we are praying for our sister or brother we will not be able to sin against them, but when we are sinning against them we can never truly pray for them. Polycarp bishop of Smyrna says, "Not quickly crediting an evil report against any one, not severe in judgment, as knowing that we are all under a debt of sin. If then we entreat the Lord to forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive; for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God." Though we know the theology that God is ever-present seeing all things, we usually act as if God cannot see. When we talk about others, ruin someone's name, write words that accuse we do not realize all of these words are in the sight of God. Our Lord even said that every single small word we utter or write will be held for account in the last day (Matthew 12:36). In the passage we are looking at the last statement is of significance. In Hebrew the words for "casts no slur" essentially gives us a word picture of someone picking up an object to throw at someone. Here we have words being spoken to others in reproach and scorn. The word "slur" in hebrew gives the sense of something that is despised. One who is a child of God cannot carry such hate in their heart no matter even if evil was done to them. When we speak about others in such ways we end up hurting ourselves spiritually and the Lord does not dwell near us. When we judge others like this we end up judging our Lord who became sin for that individual. We end up speaking against him as a despised thing. All humans are made in the image of God and when we sin against them we in a sense sin against God. David in his confession of sin against other humans realized that the sin was against God (Psalm 51:4). Let us do not wrong to our neighbour even to those who have hurt us.
  3. Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. – Acts 17:11 In modern evangelical circles the Bereans are esteemed as model believers that all should follow, and yes there are great attributes to them but also there are implications taken from them that are untrue. Firstly they were jews, meaning they were religious jews but not believing Christians. Yet Paul the Apostle states they had “noble character” meaning they had a sense of them that they were deep thinkers before coming to quick conclusions on a matter. They were willing to give others the benefit of the doubt. Secondly, we see that they gladly received the message, meaning they were teachable, willing to learn and adjust their own beliefs. They were not so dogmatic to think that they were perfect or not needing correction or perfecting of their thinking of the Scriptures. When they heard reasonable words shared from the truth of Scriptures they eagerly sought these out to see if they really were Scriptural and true. They were not defensive but rather looking to learn and grow in their relationship and walk with God. They were also diligent in that every day they looked to see if the things Paul was sharing was true. They did not just give up or judge Paul but were willing to listen to the other side of the story and not come to quick conclusions. What a wonderful picture of a people who in the end mostly “embraced” the gospel message, they certainly were “noble” and the Lord honoured that. The Bereans did not spend hours looking for gaps and mistakes in Paul’s and Silas’s teachings but looked to see what was true of what they were saying. Modern believers who esteem Bereans think of these things in a different way. They look to diligently check things with the Bible so they can accuse and criticize another person or ministry. Most people are usually have their mind made up someone is wrong and therefore go ahead and simply look for ways to attack another’s character, calling and ministry. Such ministries are known as discernment ministries or even heresy hunters. Most of those who follow the ways of these “type” of Bereans are joyless, critical in spirit, bitter or even angry. Many believe they can take down the ministry they are accusing and feel they are doing God’s work just like the early Bereans. If you desire to have life and peace, stay with the Word of God and stay away from those who make it their life’s work to criticize and accuse others. Follow the example of the true Bereans who were happy and joyfully to rejoice in truth when it was shared and be willing to grow in our understanding of the Lord.
  4. sorry will refrain from links in future posts, thanks!
  5. Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. – James 2:13 We all have been shown great mercy in our lives. God has shown great compassion and forgiveness towards us in not counting our sins against us. We were in a place were God was ready to punish us and cause us great harm in sending us to hell for eternity for our great sins. Yet he showed great mercy and love towards us, forgiving our sins in his Son. When we therefore show no mercy to others, especially believers, we sin greatly. Warren Weirsbe says, “The most miserable prison in the world is the prison we make for ourselves when we refuse to show mercy.” Such a prison many believers are in not being able to show mercy to others but being a great benefiter of mercy from God. God came down from above as the compassionate one to forgive your sins, yet we cannot show compassion to the sins of another believer. Judgmentalism is one of the great sins in the Church, as we are always faulty in the way we see others, never knowing someones motives and heart (Jeremiah 17:9). When we learn to be full of mercy for others, we start to share the heart of Jesus Christ who did not judge but showed compassion to failing humanity. Look into the eyes of Jesus Christ now and see his wounds where he was pierced for you, can you say to him that you cannot forgive another? Have mercy to another? The Desert Fathers were those who sought the Lord in a life of prayer in solitude, they sought God for God Himself. These were some of the godliest followers of the Lord in that era of Church history. A story of a Desert Father on not judging says, “A brother in Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to him, saying, ‘Come, for everyone is waiting for you’. So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug and filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said, ‘what is this, father?’ The old man said to them, ‘My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.’ When they heard that, they said no more to the brother but forgave him.” If we see our sins as this old godly brother did, we will not judge but show mercy to a fellow believer on this journey with the Lord. If we judged our own selves we would see our failings as great and have great mercy to others. We should find ourselves as the publican calling out to God for mercy constantly (Luke 18:13). Just like the pharisee in the temple praying we can judge our fellow brothers, looking down on the errors of others, but not seeing our own. Lord have mercy on me and help me to be merciful to others. Amen.
  6. Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. – James 2:13 We all have been shown great mercy in our lives. God has shown great compassion and forgiveness towards us in not counting our sins against us. We were in a place were God was ready to punish us and cause us great harm in sending us to hell for eternity for our great sins. Yet he showed great mercy and love towards us, forgiving our sins in his Son. When we therefore show no mercy to others, especially believers, we sin greatly. Warren Weirsbe says, “The most miserable prison in the world is the prison we make for ourselves when we refuse to show mercy.” Such a prison many believers are in not being able to show mercy to others but being a great benefiter of mercy from God. God came down from above as the compassionate one to forgive your sins, yet we cannot show compassion to the sins of another believer. Judgmentalism is one of the great sins in the Church, as we are always faulty in the way we see others, never knowing someones motives and heart (Jeremiah 17:9). When we learn to be full of mercy for others, we start to share the heart of Jesus Christ who did not judge but showed compassion to failing humanity. Look into the eyes of Jesus Christ now and see his wounds where he was pierced for you, can you say to him that you cannot forgive another? Have mercy to another? The Testimony Of The Desert Fathers The Desert Fathers were those who sought the Lord in a life of prayer in solitude, they sought God for God Himself. These were some of the godliest followers of the Lord in that era of Church history. A story of a Desert Father on not judging says, “A brother in Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to him, saying, ‘Come, for everyone is waiting for you’. So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug and filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said, ‘what is this, father?’ The old man said to them, ‘My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.’ When they heard that, they said no more to the brother but forgave him.” If we see our sins as this old godly brother did, we will not judge but show mercy to a fellow believer on this journey with the Lord. If we judged our own selves we would see our failings as great and have great mercy to others. We should find ourselves as the publican calling out to God for mercy constantly (Luke 18:13). Just like the pharisee in the temple praying we can judge our fellow brothers, looking down on the errors of others, but not seeing our own. Lord have mercy on me and help me to be merciful to others. The Example of Jonah, A Prophet Without Mercy We all know the story of the prophet who was swallowed by the fish. Children are amused and enough the thought of it! Yet as adults when we take time to read through the details we realize a much more serious and importance message is being given to us. Jonah was a holy prophet and admired by the people of Israel. He heard the voice of God many times and obeyed in sharing the truth with the people of God. But when the voice of the Lord told him to go to a very wicked people who worshipped the fish god, Jonah said no. He went the opposite direction in a boat but the Lord had a way of getting his attention and encouraging him to obey and speak repentance to those people. Jonah had seen time and time again God show mercy to Israel when they did not deserve it and it turned his stomach to think he would show mercy to the very wicked people of Nineveh. Even after preaching and seeing the peoples repentance Jonah still felt that God should judge them in some way (Jonah 4:1). We Can All Be Like Jonah We all can be like Jonah at times, especially if we are the people who have been hurt by others. The people of Nineveh enslaved and caused great harm to Israel before so the thought of forgiving them and even God showing mercy to have them become believers was too much for Israel or their prophet Jonah to accept. Have we been hurt by others in the world who we have not forgiven? Maybe we have forgiven them but do we want them to be saved? St. Benedict of Nursia says, “To hate no one. Not to be jealous or envious. To hate strife. To evidence no arrogance. Never despair of God’s mercy.” God’s heart is full of grace, meaning he wants to extend his love and mercy to those who do not deserve it especially. God is compassionate and very slow to anger against those that we feel deserve it. We are never called to hate anyone, desire evil for anyone, if we shared the true Spirit of Christ we will seek the mercy of the love for all of humanity. This also extends to the body of Christ that we would seek the good of all those who call upon the Name of the Lord. Steps To Be Free Of Judgementalism The journey to freedom is one footstep after another. To get out of a pit one has to start the climb out. After years of habitual judging of others we can find ourselves in a deep chasm of rooted sinful behaviour. Here are some small steps you can take daily to help: 1). Meditate on the Passion of Jesus Christ – Spend time in silence thinking upon the wounds of Christ. Think of the Crown of Thorns, the Pierced Side, the wounds afflicted to Christ when the soldiers were mocking Him. See your sins there causing such hurt to the Saviour. See your judgemental words heaped on Him. Also see the hope that Christ died to free us all from our passions and sins. 2). Show Acts of Mercy – No matter if you think a person deserves it or not, show mercy and kindness. Make deliberate acts to see the good in others and applaud them for these God given gifts. See where people do things better than yourself. Glory in God for anyway people serve God in a way you are not doing. Show deeds of mercy to others in gifts and kindness. Let no thought of judging to come into your mind. 3). Remind Yourself of Your Faults – When you are tempted to judge someone, consider your own faults and sins. When did you fail greatly in the same area or similar area. Look to yourself, consider how much mercy God gave you and then show that mercy to others. 4). Learn to Hate Judging – Learn to not hate others as St. Benedict counsels us but rather to hate the sins of jealousy, envying, strife, arrogance. Hate the sin of habitat judging as it’s a cancer of the soul. Put your focus on God, in worship and adoration, do not spend your time considering the faults of others even obvious false teachers or those departing from the faith. Look to your own soul find your lacks and where you are departing and pray for God’s mercy to finish well. May God give you complete victory as you daily put this sin under the blood of Christ and the victory of His holy Cross. The God who knows all thoughts of our mind and heart will cleanse and give you victory in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
  7. When someone hears mention of the Anglican Church, the first thoughts that come to mind are unlikely to be about the Holy Spirit or deliverance from bondage. Yet, there is a movement within the Anglican Church of North America that is called “Via Apostolica” (Way of the Apostles) that originated from a large Church in Lethbridge, Canada where God called the lead pastor towards Anglicanism. The focus of their movement is called the 3 streams: Scripture, Sacrament and the Holy Spirit. This emphasis is defined on their website as those who “listens to Christ in the Scriptures, is connected to Christ by the Spirit, and communes with Christ through the Sacraments.” Bishop Todd Atkinson is the servant leader who has a passion to see radical discipleship and rooting in the great traditions of the Church. In a recent message given at a conference on inner healing called: Living Free. +Todd gave a powerful message on being set free from a life of self-bondage and focus. This inner healing and freedom from our own selfishness is part of what Jesus calls us to as disciples. The main Scripture shared in the message was the famous call of discipleship by Christ in St. Matthew: Here is an excerpt from the message where the life of self-focus is looked at: During the epitome of the message +Todd leads in a powerful prayer of deliverance asking Jesus to heal our spirits of the life of self-focus. As he said in the message this is first-step in a journey of deeper discipleship with Jesus Christ. Consider to read it first to mediate on what is being said then when you are ready read out-loud this prayer to God meaningfully by faith: Lord Jesus Christ, I release To You my life of self-focus Lord Jesus Christ, write Your ways upon our hearts Release me from my individualism, From making things all about me. Lord, have mercy Release me from my sentimentalism, From being led by my raw emotions. Lord, have mercy Release me from my entitlement From thinking I am owed things. Lord, have mercy Release me from my materialism, From looking to things for happiness. Lord, have mercy Release me from my skepticism, From anticipating disappointment Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy. You can watch the live stream of the full message here on Facebook
  8. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. – Jonah 4:2 We all know the story of the prophet who was swallowed by the fish. Children are amused and enough the thought of it! Yet as adults when we take time to read through the details we realize a much more serious and importance message is being given to us. Jonah was a holy prophet and admired by the people of Israel. He heard the voice of God many times and obeyed in sharing the truth with the people of God. But when the voice of the Lord told him to go to a very wicked people who worshipped the fish god, Jonah said no. He went the opposite direction in a boat but the Lord had a way of getting his attention and encouraging him to obey and speak repentance to those people. Jonah had seen time and time again God show mercy to Israel when they did not deserve it and it turned his stomach to think he would show mercy to the very wicked people of Nineveh. Even after preaching and seeing the peoples repentance Jonah still felt that God should judge them in some way (Jonah 4:1). We all can be like Jonah at times, especially if we are the people who have been hurt by others. The people of Nineveh enslaved and caused great harm to Israel before so the thought of forgiving them and even God showing mercy to have them become believers was too much for Israel or their prophet Jonah to accept. Have we been hurt by others in the world who we have not forgiven? Maybe we have forgiven them but do we want them to be saved? St. Benedict of Nursia says, “To hate no one. Not to be jealous or envious. To hate strife. To evidence no arrogance. Never despair of God’s mercy.” God’s heart is full of grace, meaning he wants to extend his love and mercy to those who do not deserve it especially. God is compassionate and very slow to anger against those that we feel deserve it. We are never called to hate anyone, desire evil for anyone, if we share the true Spirit of Christ we will seek for mercy and love for all of humanity. This also extends to the body of Christ that we would seek the good of all those who call upon the Name of the Lord.
  9. Over 3 years ago, God started to speak to me deeply on the great sin of division, slander, and gossip in the body of Christ. God started to have me in situations where great hurt was being done and I saw first hand the way the enemy used these tactics to destroy and hurt the testimony of Jesus Christ in others lives. One of many devotional articles I wrote during that time was called: God's Church Is Sacred In This Earth. The premise of the devotion was a warning that when we speak against the body of Christ we speak against God's Sacred Church of whom we are all a part. Recently, God spoke to Francis Chan on that exact same verse (1 Corinthians 3:17) to give us a loving warning to the body of Christ against division. Here is a recent statement Francis made in regards to people who divide and leave Church fellowship: "There is this terrifying verse in 1 Timothy where Paul talked about two men who rejected the faith. Paul said that he had handed them over to Satan, by which he meant that he’d put them outside of the church (1:20). Basically, these men were actively opposing the works of God, so rather than pretending everything was fine, Paul removed them from the safety and blessings of the fellowship of believers. He was hoping that the misery of being separated from the church would lead them to repent. Are you catching the weight of this? Paul equated removal from the church with being handed over to Satan! It is crazy to me that we live in a time when people are voluntarily doing this to themselves! No church has placed them outside of the fellowship; instead, they’ve handed themselves over to Satan!" What a sobering thought that those in our day in North America being critical of so much that is called Christian are doing to themselves what Paul the Apostle had to recommend Timothy to do to others as a last resort to have them repent of their pride and sins. We are living in a day where we are judging others and not ourselves. We are finding it easy to be critical of everything but our own sins we ourselves struggle with. Francis again shares on how God wants to send real unity to the body of Christ: "Real love, unity and blessing were supposed to be found in the church. Many are having a hard time finding that, so they’re setting off on their own. Jesus said that the world would see the supernatural unity and love we share in the church and believe in Him through that. But we’re not experiencing it. We’ve given up on it. We no longer believe it is possible." Perhaps we can start to change our minds and start looking towards others with seeing their good and not bad, speaking blessings over others and not curses. Remember we are fitted together in a temple of God with all saints of all ages. And Francis gives the example of someone taking a sledgehammer to this temple. What a fearful thing to do, of course we would depart from such an individual for fear of what God Himself would do to him. As the Scripture says, "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them" (Titus 3:10). You can watch the full video message by Francis Chan, "Are You Destroying The Church" where he gives this loving warning against division in the Church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJph3Z6cfxM
  10. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. - James 4:10 Humility is the way to heaven. Christ was humble, the prophets of God were men of humility. The Apostles Jesus choose ended up being men of great humility. Saints in church history are considered those who reached a place of humility. Pride is everything that opposes Gods will and way. The demons are proud and love to come near those who are of a proud boastful spirit. Humility of heart drives satan from us. Humility is not just a sense of being but hundreds of daily choices we make. We can humble ourselves in a manifold amount of ways each day in our thought-life, actions we make, in relationships we are in. The Spirit of God is working with us daily to allow us to choose the right humble choices. Archimandrite Joel Giannakopoulos said rightly: "Humility is, not only to humble your own self, but also to forbear the humiliations which others impose on you." St. Chrysostom said: "For he that is humbled, and bruised in heart, will not be vainglorious, will not be wrathful, will not envy his neighbor, will not harbor any other passion." The Scriptures say to humble "yourselves." And to realize that when we do this we are doing it "before" the Lord not only men. God see's our hearts condition and honours humility. He longs and desires to "lift us up" and grant us His blessings safely as we maintain humility of heart. There are many steps to take towards humility, here is one practical step. Consider to pray out loud this "Litany of Humility" even daily if it becomes a help to you: O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, Jesus From the desire of being loved, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being honoured, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of consulted, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being despised, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, Jesus. That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
  11. Stay here and keep watch with me. - Luke 26:38 We sometimes guage Christian life and spirituality in terms of what have accomplished or what we have done for God. One over-looked feature of spirituality is that of sharing the very heart of God. One almost revolts at the thought of such intimacy or closeness to God, but our Lord calls his disciples to stay with Him in his deepest hour of sorrow. Have you ever thought to ask God to share in his sorrows and heart for a broken humanity? If you were in Gethemane that night would you accept the call to watch with Jesus? Our Lord at times is seeking those who will simply "watch and pray" with him. Not seek great things in his name or big goals but to simply be at his feet, caring about how the Lord feels. In some way to minister to the very Lord himself. The Old Testament priesthood had this element of ministering and appeasing the Lord himself. While our Lord in the incarnation came into humanity he was touched and ministered to by the tears and the hair of a forgiven woman. As the world grows exceedingly worse in sin and evil, God's heart breaks even more for those he died for. Will we minister to the Lord's heart in such times when evil itself seems to triumph? When last has your heart been broken on the inside for those around you who were lost and without the hope of Christ? When last has a tear dropped from your eye for those who are on their way to a Christless eternity? There is a simple song sung in a Christian community that can be perhaps the echo of the Lord to our heart today: "Stay with me, remain here with me. Watch and pray, watch and pray. My heart is nearly broken with sorrow. Remain here with me, stay awake and pray." Will you hear the Lord's voice today? He is still waiting for you.
  12. greggordon

    Forsaking the Love of God

    Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. - Revelation 2:4 Over the years we hear many explanations of the reasons why our Lord spoke so strongly to the Ephesian Church about their loss of their "first love." Our Lord summed up the entire Old Testament in one sentence, paraphrased: "Love God and Love Others." This love has action and proof to it. Intense and sincere devotion to Jesus Christ will produce a life of godliness and good works. Jesus was calling his Church back to practical worship, godliness and a denying of worldliness. They had hatred of evil, endured persecution in their society (Revelation 2:3), were able to spot false teachers and doctrines (Revelation 2:2) and even hated the major evil doctrine of the day taught by the deacon Nicolas (Revelation 2:6). Yet slowly love of pleasures were mingling into their affections for Jesus Christ alone. They passion they had for Him and Him alone was beginning to wane. Their looking to the cross and seeing the "lover of their souls" was something that lost its luster at least for a moment. Nicolas began as a full-hearted believer full of the Spirit of God (Acts 6:2-6). Yet slowly through self-importance he went away from the teaching of the Apostles and formed his own teaching and way. David Wilkerson says of Nicolas of Antoich, "The church fathers had two cardinal rules for believers - do not eat meat offered to idols and avoid fornication. Nicolas evidently fathered a doctrine that led to idolatry and fornication. The society of that day winked at sexual promiscuity. Nicolas and his followers invented a doctrine of false security that eventuated in mixture with the world and an undercurrent of sensuality in their teaching." Clement of Alexandria said of the Nicolaitans, "They abandoned themselves to pleasures like goats, in a life of shameless self indulgence." How do we not lose and forsake our love for the Son of God: 1. Look to Him alone for nothing else but Him. It is God that is our goal, not success, money, fame or anything else the world can offer. Give God your love and worship. 2. Pleasures are always fighting us for our affection for Jesus Christ. Our worship for Him must overcome and let Him be our satisfaction not passing worldly pleasures. 3. Look to the cross. It is there you find meaning, fulfillment, peace, joy and life eternal. Meditate on the cross. Daily thank the Lord for His death. 4. Look to yourself more then others. Instead of seeing others faults, look to your own. See the apostate deacon Nicolas in the early church as a warning sign to look inward in your own life. Are you submitting to what is the apostles doctrines today? Are you believing what the Church has always held to or are you trying to make your new teachings and ideas? The road to apostasy always begins with the separation from the people of God which leads to a leaving of God Himself. 5. Love others, find ways to do good to others. Think of others more then yourself. And you will find peace.
  13. St. Paul writes to Timothy giving us a picture of how it will look just before the second coming of the Lord. He shares that people will be “unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good” (2 Timothy 3:3). In the end times there will be a great shift in how people live and act worldwide. Jesus spoke of children who will betray parents and how people will even want to put Christians to death (Matthew 24:9-10). But we see the root of the issue in the attitudes of human hearts, and committed believers in Jesus Christ are not excluded. Not having love, not forgiving, and speaking evil of other good believers will be just part of the coming spirit of anti-Christ in the world. Unforgiveness is a prison, a torturer. It will rob us of our joy, peace and even physical health. Jesus knew mankind and he knew that a great problem that many deal with is forgiving others. It is one of our Lord’s primary teachings and the apostles were very keen to this. Peter said to Jesus in answer to his question of forgiveness, seven times! He understood that Jesus said to be extravagant in our forgiveness of others, and the current teaching by rabbis in that day was to forgive three times and then seek revenge. Our Lord’s response showed the extent of how God forgives and how those who claim to follow him should forgive, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:22). Do you find it hard to forgive other brothers and sisters in the Lord? Do you find it hard to love others in the body of Christ because of hurtful things that were done to you? Are you speaking evil of those brothers and sisters and judging them? It is very important that we are clear of all such sin and are full of love, forgiveness and using our mouths to show mercy and love to others in order to restore them (Galatians 5:1). Early believers lived in great anticipation of the coming of the Lord, and the thought of holding a grudge in unforgiveness with a believer and then entering eternity with this sin was unthinkable. In speaking about disputes, St. James writes, “Don’t grumble against one another” (James 5:9). The terrible reality to him was that the Judge was standing at the door, the Lord was coming back soon.
  14. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. - Mark 8:31The Nicene Creed The Nicene Creed declares of the Son of God,"For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures."What a wonderful statement to consider and think about. Our faith in death and resurrection of Christ are the non-negotiables that we must hold to tightly and dwell on continually. There is an unfathomable depth of richness in these simple statements that should release us on a life of holy contemplation of the sufferings of our Lord.Commemoration of the Death of Christ The early Church remebered the suffering of the Lord and resurrection daily but also commemorated it yearly on a specific day. That day was debated at first and various local believers practiced different days but soon a universal day was recognized. This yearly consideration of the death and ressurection of Christ allows for a season of very deep meditation on the death of the Son of God for us and should greatly deepen us in our holy faith.Some accuse those who practice the yearly memorial that they are missing a daily thinking of the death of Christ but nothing is perhaps further from the truth. The early believers saw the death of Christ in everything, the bleeding side was thought to where the very Church was born (John 19:34), daily many believers will recite the nicene creed or others that speak of the death of Christ, the cross was widely used as a symbol in churches and homes and was a daily reminder of the death of Christ. It should rather be asked to modern believers where churches are removing crosses, are we remembering the Lord's death enough?Jesus Died Jesus died for our sins! It is not a phrase that we should glib over lightily but heaven is consumed with this constantly, the heavenly choruses never end glorifying the son of God who died for all races, peoples and humanity.The incarnation is part of the sufferings of the Godhead in which God humbled himself to save humanity. Every accusation, misunderstanding, evil look, secret plot, word of gossip, slander, all hurt the Son of God's heart. He suffered so many things for us, willingly laying down his life continually on the earth for 33 years (12,000+ days).Every day it was a conscious choice of the son of God to bear the shame for us so that we could be free. In the end with blood stained eyes he looks at humanity killing him and has only love for this is the reason he came.His final foe was death, that he would trample victoriously, as an early liturgy says, "Trampling down death by death."His death defeated all death and in him is life everlasting, resurrection life. We are invited during this season of lent and holy week to consider again what we remind ourselves daily, the great suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord. May it become richer and more meaningful to us each year, as we are simply preparing to enter into the fullness of worship in heaven, declaring to the Lamb: "you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God" (Revelation 5:9). Amen.
  15. The Roman Coliseum was one of the main centers for entertainment and, on this day, it was not gladiators or sports competitions, but a different type of crown was being competed for. Rows upon rows of circular seating, with humanity throbbing inside. Fifty thousand faces fixed their attention on the scene below. The noise at times was deafening with cheers of the crowd, anticipating what was to come. To whet the appetites of the onlooking romans, gladiators were sent out to fight. Then wild animals who were starved were released, and a skillful gladiator would kill each one. But all of this is just to prepare the crowd for the main event and attraction. It was the Christians that were competing today for a heavenly crown following the way of Christ in the noble way of martyrdom. What happens next, The Martyr of the Catacombs, details the sad scene well for us: This is an excerpt from the free Christian ebook, The Following of Christ by Greg Gordon
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