The devil's final strategy in deceiving believers is to make them doubt the faithfulness of God in answering prayer. Satan would have us believe God has shut His ears to our cry and left us to work things out for ourselves.
Christians are strange creatures. They travel the world, preaching the love of Jesus and His forgiveness for any and all sin. They tell the heathen, the addict, the alcoholic, the prostitute - "Come to Christ and be forgiven. He forgave your sins at the Cross - so come and receive forgiveness and healing for all your hurts. You can have peace and be free of guilt." As a result sinners, who have been guilty of every conceivable kind of dark and evil deed, gladly come to Christ and are instantly forgiven and delivered from their guilt.
How often have you heard Christians say, “God is doing a new thing in the church”? The “new thing” they refer to may be called a revival, an outpouring, a visitation or a move of God. Yet very often the “new thing” they describe dies out quickly. And once it has faded, it can’t be found again. In this way, it proves not to have been a move of God at all. In fact, Christian sociologists have tracked many of these so-called visitations. They’ve discovered that the average span of such an event is about five years.
I’m convinced we can’t fully obey God’s Word until we understand why the Lord calls for perfect obedience. Why does God demand this? Is it because he’s a despot, a tyrant who delights in placing heavy yokes and burdens on his people? No, not at all. Jesus tells us the burden he places on us is light and easy (Matthew 11:30). His commands aren’t grievous.
Most of us would like the ability to do certain things in life that we can’t do. I’m talking about things that are not just hard but impossible. I think of my garage as an impossible mess, but I have the ability to clean it. I don’t need faith in God to do that task.
The opening chapter of Hebrews repeats a truth every Christian knows but that few of us actually grasp: “Jesus is greater.” The writer is so focused on this theme he doesn’t take time to offer a greeting. He doesn’t give his readers any instructions, as some epistles do. Instead, he has one thing on his mind: “Jesus is greater!” He is enamored, thrilled and overcome with Christ.
"He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me" (Psalm 18:16–19, my italics).
When I began working on this message, the Wall Street Journal reported that the entire world had come under a great cloud of fear. People in all nations are now paralyzed by world events. Immediately, my thoughts turned to our parishioners at Times Square Church. They show no such fear. Instead, while we all have a great soberness about these times, we also have a deep, abiding joy.
We don’t hear many sermons on heaven these days. That may seem strange, since it is every Christian’s joy to ponder being with the Lord for all eternity. The promise of heaven is at the very core of the gospel we preach.
Yet there is a reason why we don’t hear much on this joyful subject. The fact is, the Bible doesn’t say much about what heaven is like. Jesus never sat down with his disciples and explained the glory and majesty of heaven. He did say to the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise,” but he didn’t say what it would be like.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Here is very simple instruction from the apostle Paul. He’s telling us in plain terms, “If the Holy Spirit is living in you, let him have full control of your life. We are all to be led by the Spirit.”
The Holy Ghost was sent to be our constant, infallible guide, and he abides in all who confess Christ as Lord and Savior. The Spirit claims our bodies as his dwelling place, reigning in residence in our hearts.