He Tasted Death for You

History records a man known as Jesus of Nazareth, who walked the earth some 2000 years ago. This man declared Himself to be the Son of God. He was crucified, He died, and He was buried. He willingly offered His life for the sins of the world. After bearing the guilt and penalty for our sin, He was raised from the dead by God, His Heavenly Father, and now reigns as “King of Kings and Lord of Lords!”

Now, either Jesus was who He said He was, and did what was written of Him, or He was a charlatan, a fake, and a fraud. Personally, I believe that He was and is the Son of God, and that He “became sin” so that I could be “made righteous.” I believe that He bore the penalty of my sin and gave me Eternal Life when I believed on Him. This was all made possible through the shedding of His blood upon the cross at Calvary and subsequent bodily resurrection from the dead.

As you listen to this message, “He Tasted Death for You,” I pray that you will get a glimpse into the price that was paid and the sacrifice that was made by Jesus Christ to redeem mankind—to redeem YOU— from the power of sin and death!

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He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us all.  ~Isaiah 53:3-6 (NLT)

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  ~John 1:29 (NKJV)

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, “Be reconciled to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.  ~2 Corinthians 5:19-21 (NLT)

For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives his riches to all who ask for them. For “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  ~Romans 10:9-13 (NLT)

Are You Ready?

The following is from a CharismaNews Opinion page post, August 3, 2014, by Tim Sheets. I have a sense that the Spirit of God is speaking here of things to come. The question is: will we be ready to move with God when He moves? That’s a question each of us needs to ask our self.

“The Spirit of the Lord declares to His Church: Doors to new history are now opening. A new movement will now move forth. A new stream from My Throne is flowing, and it will be a pure stream of My Gospel. For the stream of My Gospel has been diverted and dammed up by those who wanted the benefits of reservoired blessings; but I will now blow up the religious dams. I will now discipline the spiritual hoarders, and I will have a Gospel that flows freely with My Spirit.

“My movement will move. It is built to move, and it will move empowered by the fresh winds of My Spirit and soaked with fresh oil. It shall be a pure Gospel stream that is lit with the fire of My cause, one that I can confirm with signs, with wonders and with miracles, one that is not diluted with flesh or pride or immorality or greed, one that I can back with awesome Kingdom assets, one that I can marshal My angel armies behind; a Gospel of awesome power that will now surge forward, and the generations will synergize their efforts together for the revival of in-gathering such has not been seen before.

“And I am calling to My Gideons–come Gideons! Come from your hiding places and stop the raiding of harvests. I have seen you behind the winepress. I have seen your secret toil. I have heard your cries for relief. Now hear My cry. Now hear My voice rise and see the strong arm of the Lord your God. I have seen your heart, and I will now empower you. I will defeat the enemy, and you will enjoy the spoils of victory. You will say, ‘Our enemy has resourced us. Our enemy has stored abundance for us. We have more because of war.’

“A shift in leadership will now occur,” says the Lord. “A new breed of leaders will be revealed in My Kingdom. The obscure ones who have served faithfully will now receive promotion. Though man has not seen, I have seen. It will be said, ‘Where did they come from? Who are they?’

“And I will advocate saying, ‘These are they who have come from My presence. These are they who would not compromise. These are they who would not be muzzled. These are they who would not bow to darkness. These are they who would not appease humanity with enticing words but have stood strong with My words.’

“They did not flinch. They did not bow their knee to blended religion and doctrines of men. They did not tolerate the diluting of My message and the mocking of My ways. They have stood unashamed for Me. Now I will stand unashamed for them. I have proclaimed their victory, and I will oversee it.

“Multiplied grace is now flowing. Bound souls shall be set free. Captive hearts shall be delivered. Those blinded by sin and iniquity shall be liberated from hell’s bondage, as the revival of in-gathering now springs forward.

“The synergized generation in sync with My angel armies and soaked in the presence of My Spirit will now leap forward into great revival. It will be a movement that moves–moves in power, moves with passion, moves in purity. Notable miracles will spring forth. They are leaping in your midst.

“The revival in the womb of My intercessors is now leaping. It is leaping from the womb of their travail. It is now time for the birthing of forerunners who will run. Leap into your destiny. Leap through the open door. Leap into your future.” –spoken by Apostle Tim Sheets

Tim Sheets is an apostle, pastor and author based in southwestern Ohio. A graduate of Christ For the Nations Institute in Dallas, he returned to Ohio in 1979 to pastor The Oasis, a CityGate Church, in Middletown, Ohio. The site is one of the largest in the Cincinnati-Dayton area and is host to many ministries and conferences. His vision is to raise up people who will authentically demonstrate the church on the Earth and passionately evangelize the world. His heart is for awakening and reformation in America. He has written three books, Armed and Battle Ready, Being Led by the Spirit, and Heaven Made Real. Sheets resides with his wife, Carol, in Lebanon, Ohio. They have two children and five grandchildren.


“Work” is a Four-Letter Word

When I was a kid, there was a four-letter word that my dad wouldn’t allow to be spoken in our house. Actually, there were a few such words, but, one in particular was deemed particularly offensive. The word was, “FORD.”

You see, my dad worked for General Motors Corporation at Fisher Body Plant #2 in Flint, Michigan. He was Superintendent of Labor Relations at the plant that built full-size Chevrolets. Since Ford Motor Company was GM’s chief competitor back in the day, the Ford name was banned in our GM household. (I really think Dad was joking, but, then again, kinda’ not.)

Similarly, there’s a four-letter word that some have banned in God’s house, today. It’s a word that offends otherwise rational folks whenever and wherever it is uttered. The word is, “WORK.”

It seems that the word, “work” or “works” is found distasteful and grossly offensive to many who emphasize God’s grace.

Certainly, we are not saved BY our works, but, solely on the basis of God’s grace through faith. Nevertheless, we are saved to do good works. God’s grace has been given to us so that we might be co-laborers with Him while we are here on this earth–working to fulfill His plans and purpose.

As a matter of scriptural record, when Jesus returns, we shall all be judged as to whether or not we have been faithful to do what He has committed to us to do.

In this message, “Work is a Four-Letter Word,” I hope to shed some light on this controversial subject. God has not called any of us to be spectators–He has called us to be workers with Him. Be sure, only the faithful will abound with blessings. (See Proverbs 28:20)

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And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. ~1 Peter 1:17-19 (NKJV)

According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
~1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (NKJV)

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time isIt is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” ~Mark 13:32-37 (NKJV)

“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” ~Revelation 22:12 (NKJV)

Love One Another

When I was an instructor at RHEMA Bible Training Center (1978-1981), one of the courses I taught was “New Testament Survey.” I had a student in my class named Andy LaRocca. Andy was an extraordinarily talented individual. He would sit in the back row of my classroom and draw cartoons of that day’s lesson.  

Here’s one of his comic creations which was inspired by one of John’s epistles. Now, John is often referred to as the “Apostle of Love,” since God’s love is an oft-repeated theme of his writings.

loveoneanotherGet it? Good. Now, go do it!   😉

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Beloved, let us LOVE one another, for LOVE is of God; and everyone who LOVES is born of God and knows God. He who does not LOVE does not know God, for God is LOVE. In this the LOVE of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is LOVE, not that we LOVED God, but that He LOVED us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so LOVED us, we also ought to LOVE one another.
~1 John 4:7-11 (NKJV)

If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn’t LOVE others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn’t LOVE others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without LOVE I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t LOVEothers, I would be of no value whatsoever. LOVE is patient and kind. LOVE is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. LOVE does not demand its own way. LOVE is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. LOVE never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. LOVE will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear. Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals little! But when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear. It’s like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now. There are three things that will endure — faith, hope, and LOVE — and the greatest of these is LOVE. ~1 Corinthians 13 (NLT)

“For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” ~John 3:16,17 (NKJV)

Think On These Things

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. ~Philippians 4:4-8 (NKJV)

The Question of Forgiveness

It was about a year or so ago that I began to see a number of posts on Facebook stating that, “all our sins have been forgiven—past, present, and future.”

To be honest, I had never thought about future sins being forgiven in advance of a person actually committing them. I have always been of the belief that, if a person sinned after they were born-again, repentance and confession were required to receive God’s forgiveness. The concept of “pre-forgiveness” was a new one to me. Certainly, I don’t know everything, and I feel I’m open to be taught, but, with the knowledge of Scripture that I have, I’ve had trouble reconciling this and some other teachings with God’s Word.

In the last few months, I have witnessed a marked increase in the number of declarations and discussions (and some ugly arguments) about forgiveness of sin, judgment and condemnation, law and grace, among other things. The matter has exploded on numerous websites, blog sites, and in Facebook posts. At times, the discussion has gotten quite heated and, sadly, has been the cause of much division in the Body of Christ.

As I began studying this teaching, I discovered that much of this “new doctrine” was being promoted by Joseph Prince, in his book, “Destined to Reign.” (He also deals with this subject in his subsequent book, “Unmerited Favor,” which, is pretty much a re-write of his first book.)

So as not to be ignorant on this matter, I spent about six weeks reading, studying, marking, and highlighting what Prince wrote in regard to God’s grace and forgiveness. What I found were some liberating truths that I, myself, have been teaching over the past 35 years. But, I also found many questionable statements and some things that clearly contradict the teaching of Scripture. I also have spent considerable time reading a variety of articles and blog posts, both pro and con, and watching and listening to messages from a variety of folks.

I will be addressing some of my concerns primarily in audio messages posted here on my devoBlog. It is not my intent to attack a particular person or ministry, even though I felt it was necessary to refer to Prince’s writings.

The Word of God warns us, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1), and, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3,4). True freedom only comes by continuing in the Truth of God’s Word. I pray that as you listen to these messages that the Holy Spirit will speak Truth to your heart. I might add that, if in anything I speak or write I am found to be in error, I pray that the Spirit of God would open my eyes to the Truth, also.

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But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all* who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. ~Romans 3:21-26 (NKJV)

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. ~Colossians 2:13,14 (NKJV)

“And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ ~Acts 26:14-18 (NKJV)

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. ~1 John 1:5-2:2 (NKJV)

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. ~James 5:13-16 (NKJV)

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. ~Hebrews 3:12-13 (NKJV)

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ~Hebrews 10:26-31 (NKJV)

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” ~Revelation 3:19 (NKJV)

“The Question of Forgiveness” (55:15)start+new

© 2014 Randall Gearhart