To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him? The workman molds an image, the goldsmith overspreads it with gold, and the silversmith casts silver chains. (Isaiah 40:18-19)
The true and living God is incomparable. Whenever men craft images and deify them, they do it to their own demise. Hindus construct images of gods and goddesses big and small, and adorn them with flowers, oils and ornaments. Roman Catholics object to this, yet they fashion images of Jesus for use in their rituals and prayers, as if they hold some sacramental virtue. God does not command us to form images of Him or use images to represent Him. He reveals His presence and power in the universe He created. Of the heavens He said, “Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things” (Isaiah 40:26). Take time to look up and see all that God has made: “There is none like Him, none can compare, no god His equal, no prince His heir. Lift up your eyes and see His great might.”
Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” (Luke 13:23-24)
Nearly everyone who believes in heaven also believes they are going there. But, Jesus said the truth of the matter is very different. He said access to salvation is “narrow” and entrance into it requires one to “strive” (to strenuously endeavor). Salvation is not an accident; it is the result of faith’s deliberate submission to the will of God. Nor is salvation a whim; you must want to be saved to such an extent that you will strive for it. Put away every sin and live upright before God and men. Do the will of the Father who is in heaven and you will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21). Do otherwise, and you “will not be able” to enter.
Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. (Titus 2:15)
God’s charge to the gospel preacher is to declare “the whole counsel of God”, and to do so “in season and out of season” (Acts 20:27; 2 Tim. 4:2). Most of the time people like to hear words that “exhort” (encourage, comfort or even entreat). But, not nearly as many are eager to hear words that “rebuke” (to show a fault, censure). Yet, both must be done to fully preach the word of God. Let us be willing to be exhorted and rebuked, knowing that exhortation from God’s word helps assure our faith, while its rebuke helps us repent of sin. Do not blame the messenger if you dislike the exhortation or rebuke that comes from God’s word. Look inward and purify your heart to receive all God’s word says.
Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?” And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him. (Luke 22:63-65)
The willingness of Jesus to endure humiliating injustices showed His determined self-control to accomplish human redemption. Submitting to the Father’s will means we will undergo whatever hardship comes our way and endure whatever obstacle arises in order to be faithful and true. What an amazing example Jesus sets for us to follow as He humbly accepted the reproach of sinners. He endured this and so much more so that we can be saved from our sins. Today, follow His example of complete surrender to do God’s will.
And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. (Mark 5:18-20)
After Jesus healed the demon-possessed man named Legion, he longed to continue with Jesus. Instead, Jesus urged him to go tell others of the great blessings he had received from the Lord. God still has compassion on the broken-hearted and those weighed down by sin. He is ready to free your soul from the bondage of sin and rescue you from the spiritual chaos it causes in your life. Make today the day you go to Jesus for God’s compassion and salvation (read how to be saved in Acts 2:36-41). If you have already received God’s forgiveness, then tell others of His great compassion. Tell the good news to others so they can also be saved by Jesus!
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23)
As a Christian you have been freed from the bondage of sin and death and are a willing “slaves of God”. Freedom from sin does not mean freedom to sin; quite the opposite. Christians choose to shun sin and to serve God, bearing the fruit of holiness. The result of a holy life is everlasting life, but sin always brings death. Being saved in Christ compels you to bear holy fruit in your life that reflects your freedom from sin. Use today to serve God with all holiness.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-19)
The gospel of Jesus Christ will not penetrate the heart of the “natural man” (who defines wisdom by himself and by this world, see 1 Corinthians 2:14); he has no interest in spiritual things. So, he rejects the gospel as foolishness while living in the arrogance and lusts of sin. His path leads to eternal death. But, those with open hearts listen to and discern the “message of the cross” as being from God, and believe it. You may meet someone today who will try to convince you the gospel is foolish. If so, remember that their message will do nothing to save your soul. The good news of a Savior who loves you and sacrificed himself so you can live eternally is the wisdom of God. It commands you to believe and confess your faith, to repent and to be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9-10). Be wise; trust and obey the gospel, the wisdom of God.