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He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…; or, Am I a ‘Son’ ???

Phonto 2

By Joseph Diop

Copyright © 2017 by Joseph Diop

 

Life can be very scary and uncertain sometimes. It can be very puzzling, especially in terms of our interplay with the LORD God our Father. All the drama, the intrigue, and the suspense of life can be summed up in the fact that we have a very sovereign God, who controls all things, and who seems to like to deal with and work through us creatures who are weak, frail, and finite. Sometimes we find that we are not even in control of the one thing we are always supposed to be in control of – our own behavior. Sometimes, we find ourselves in need of praying that prayer King David taught us, when he was fingered by the prophet Nathan for adultery and murder,

 

Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me… 11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Psalm 51:5,11

 

So, the question is, at what point can a Christian know that his soul is secure and that he/she is bound for heaven in the end, no matter what? How do we escape that uneasy, unwelcome, and troubling feeling of eternal UNCERTAINTY, considering all our stumbling, misdeeds, shortfalls, and let’s be plain, all our sinfulness? By virtue of our own rotten human nature, no matter how hard we try, at times we just get tangled, twisted, and tossed about by sin. This was certainly Paul’s experience (Romans 7:7-25).  So, let’s look very briefly at this issue from the two distinct points of view – God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.

 

First, realize that God is sovereign in the affairs of salvation, as we dealt with in the previous article, “Pen Me In in the End…” http://wp.me/p4eK9Z-Bs.  And, God is faithful. There is a doctrine floating around in the Christian camp called “Eternal Security,” which attempts to offer Christians escape from the pressures of uncertainty by reducing God’s part down to this simplistic formula, “Once Saved, Always Saved.” That statement falls short of the volume of the teachings of scripture however, simply because it does not start at the right point in the process. (So, the apostle Paul said, “Work out your own salvation with FEAR AND TREMBLING” Philippians 2:12.  Therefore, that sense of uneasiness is not a dirty thing. It’s essential to the process. Scripture says, “The FEAR of the Lord is clean, enduring forever” Psalm 19:9). The scripture places the point of certainty much earlier in the process.

 

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to HIS PURPOSE. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Romans 28-30

 

So, the actual links in the process of salvation are:

 

GOD’S PURPOSE (1) → God’s foreknowledge (2) → God’s predestination (3) → God’s call (i.e., the preaching of the gospel) (4) → God’s justification (what we refer to as, getting “saved”) (5) → and, God’s glorification, which is the end result of the process (6).

 

The problem with “Eternal Security” as it is commonly presented, is that it presents the “salvation” of man, step five (5), as the root and foundation of the process and of our assurance, when there are four (4) earlier steps that are most decisive to the outcome. And, all those steps lie totally out of the scope of human knowledge or temporal confirmation. They fall wholly within the domain of God’s sovereignty and control, which we shall sum up under the heading of God’s “election.” And, that is why Peter said,

 

And beside this, giving ALL DILIGENCE, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge… But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to MAKE YOUR [OWN] CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (1Peter 1:5-11 brackets mine)

 

So now secondly, we must realize that we are forever responsible to be DILIGENT as far as our soul’s ultimate salvation is concerned. At no point can we escape the drama of it all, by just taking our eternity for granted. God alone sees the end from the beginning, and knows what souls shall make it from the start of our salvation unto the end. Ultimately, in the realm of time to which we are confined, our assurance is a rooted in the hope and faith of the believing heart. Of that root system, Hebrews says,

 

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil [of eternity]” (Hebrews 6:19, brackets mine).  Furthermore, Paul explains,

 

1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  Romans 5:1-5

 

Ultimately then, assurance of salvation is negotiated between the individual human heart and the Spirit of God. It is a function of the enduring hope and faith of the heart, sustained and grown throughout time. That faith is maintained through grace by God’s eternal love, the bestowal and receipt of which is the very “PURPOSE” (Romans 8:28) for which we were created. That ‘purpose,’ as you recall, was step one (#1) of our salvation process. You may be sure that if you can CONNECT AT THE HEART LEVEL WITH THE LOVE OF GOD, and maintain that connection throughout all the many ups and downs of life, then YOU WILL most definitely BE SAVED.

 

The love of God will never, ever let you down. As 1Corinthians 13:8 assures us, “Love never fails.” Like King David, even in the most desperate of times, when we are utterly guilty and stained before God, that love connection in our hearts will make us come out with the most gracious prayers and supplications. Those, God will always recognize as being consistent with his own eternal grace and purpose. God will respond with downloads of the abundance of his steadfast love, and your heart will grow yet to another level of capacity to always believe in His faithfulness. May you be filled with grace, peace, and assurance as you grow and produce fruit in our heavenly Father’s love. Selah. Maranatha. Amen.

 

“Come Along Little Jesus,” or, Lifestyle Repentance

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By Joseph Diop

Copyright © 2017 by Joseph Diop

There is a verse in the Bible that calls us back to our roots, as far as our faith is concerned. It says, “It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith that was ‘once [i.e., originally]’ delivered to the saints”  (Jude 1:3, brackets mine).

 

We live in a very Antichristian culture. That means that there is a replete, perverse, and counterfeit version of Christianity that has been popularized and normalized into the whole mainstream society. And what’s worse, it is completely normalized into the Church too. And, the consequences for buying into that counterfeit may end up being eternal for you. Apostle Peter warns, “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness”  (2Peter 3:17).

 

So, for a moment, I want to look back at exactly what was “the faith that was originally delivered to the saints.” As a matter of fact, let’s get clarity on what were the very first words of our Lord Jesus with reference to the gospel message.

 

14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying,The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT ye, and believe the gospel.   Matthew 1:14-15

 

The Lord Jesus Christ, in these opening words of his ministry, said “REPENT.” As a matter of fact, we preachers often gloss over that and go straight to “believe.” Jesus however, announced repentance as a mandatory and necessary precursor to faith. And, a little ways down the road, in case there was a doubt in anyone’s mind, he spelled out the terms of the repentance he required, so that we could not miss it.,

 

And Jesus said to them all, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”    Luke 9:23

 

The word ‘repent’ comes from a Greek word meaning to “change the mind.” But in Luke 9:23, Jesus added some meat to the bare bones of that definition. He broke down that definition, and reissued it in bullet-point form, in a breakdown of three statements.

 

  1. Deny yourself – Here ‘deny’ carries the force and connotation of: to say “No” to one’s SELF. This is not a mere call to put down any one or several vices that we may be aware of. No! Jesus is calling us to deal with the root of the whole tree of sin, which is the “SELF.” We are called to renounce all supposed right to try to rule our own lives. We are to totally disavow all claim to self-service as a lifestyle, or to live by any code of self-preservation. This is a complete rejection of all former belief that our life is our own. We turn around and say, “God, I am turning myself in to you. I now acknowledge that you own me.” We say ‘No’ to self, but “Yes,” always ‘yes’ to the Lord.
  2. Take up your cross daily – There is a song sung at Easter time that capsulizes the meaning of the cross. “On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of SUFFERING and SHAME.” Taking up YOUR cross daily bespeaks, having on a readiness to endure suffering and shame for the will of God, even as our Lord Jesus did. This is not a buck that you can pass on to Jesus alone, or to anyone else for that matter. Taking up your cross daily is like a policeman putting on his badge every day. Affixing your cross in your heart daily says, “I am an official representative of God’s will — for better or for worse — when the world likes it, and when they don’t.”
  3. Follow Christ – I distinctly remember, when I was a young teenager in the faith, someone came up to me and suggested that I set goals for my life that included getting college degrees, and a good job with good benefits. Then, according to them, I could take the Lord Jesus along with me and ask him to bless me. But, the Holy Spirit immediately rejected that philosophy, and I could not stomach their advice. The Holy Spirit said to me, “Is Jesus your pet, that he should follow you around like a dog on a leash? ‘No,’ He said. You follow Jesus, and submit to his will and all that he directs you to do.” This is the third point Jesus explained, and this is the only way to serve Christ acceptably. The other way, is trying to serve God, yet remain in control of your own life.

 

No beloved, Jesus is not a pet. He is the sovereign Master of our lives. And, he requires of us full and complete repentance as a fundamental precondition to our faith in him. As a matter of fact, it is absolutely necessary that we reaffirm our repentance and recommitment to his lordship every single day. Every day of life can be very trying. Every single day we face temptations to compromise and go back to doing things our own way. So, every day we must personally, sincerely, and earnestly recommit ourselves to the position and to the rigors of our original repentance. I certainly do. Every single morning, before the sun comes up, I am on my face praying and making supplication to God for my own weak, frail, finite, and wayward heart. And, in the words our Savior taught us, I pray, “Father, NOT my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:42).  I also pray, “Have your way, Lord. Let it not be my way, but your way.” Then, I follow those prayers up with a life throughout the day that is dedicated to immediate and spontaneous obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I call this Lifestyle Repentance.  I recommend it to you, if you want to make sure that you don’t get caught up with this popular, Babylon Version of Christianity that is in the world today. Think about it.  Selah. Maranatha. Amen.

 

 

 

Pen Me In in the End; or, “The Fight is Fixed!!!”

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By Joseph Diop

Copyright © 2017 by Joseph Diop

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love… Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the FatherHaving predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved  (Eph 1:3-4; 1Peter 1:2a; Eph 1:5-6).

 

The Great Playwright

 

Each of us comes into the world with our purpose prewritten and handed to us by God, like an actor receives a copy of the play from the hand of the playwright. That copy contains the narrative, storyline, and plot behind the character he is assigned. Everything is already set up for him. The play contains his character development, actions, subplot, and the script – the words he is to actually speak during his appearance on stage. Nothing is left to chance.

 

In this way, the playwright is sovereign over his production. At his pleasure, the characters appear, act out their parts, or die, and let the play roll on. The playwright’s will is supreme. So, with God everything proceeds according to “his good pleasure which he purposed in himself” (Eph 1:9). Each person’s “purpose” is to fill the role that God has assigned to him. For, in actuality he can do nothing more. He doesn’t get to choose his parents, his nationality, his date of birth, or the historical conditions at hand at his birth. He doesn’t get to choose his particular talents and abilities, his assets, or his fortunes in life. He has nothing to say about his beginning or his end. God has his life all fixed, before he ever sees the light of day. Of his divine majesty even, Jesus the Son of God, hear the testimony of the scripture.

 

The Son of man indeed goes, as it is written of him. (Mark 14:21)

 

So ultimately, in God’s production called “history,” we don’t get the chance to effectually ad lib, or wing it. Jesus’ life was prewritten, and all our lives are prewritten, whether we see it in the Bible or not. That is because all our lives who are saved are “in Him” (Eph 1:3-6, 22-23; John 17:21-23) And, why do we call it “history” in the first place? We call it history, because it is “His – story.” All history is nothing more than the story of God’s glory. And, whether the fortunes of his characters seem to be good, bad, or indifferent, everything revolves around the glory of the God who manipulates everything to make the point of His creative control, and His ultimate goodness to His “elect” — the characters He chose to receive His life and salvation in the end. This is the meaning of that verse, “[God] works all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph 1:11).

 

The illusion that man controls his own destiny, arises from the fact that life as God has designed it, carries inherently within it a certain feel of liberty and license that forms the basis of human choice and determines God’s judgment upon us as “free will” creatures. However, in actuality, our only role in determining our own destiny extends merely to the decision as to whether we say “Yes” or whether we say “No” to God. We are free to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to God, but we have no power to determine our own destiny. Destiny is completely in the hands of the Great Playwright, God.

 

The Foreknowledge of God

 

Please allow me to give you an express and simple introduction to the key Bible terms here. All background information is from the “Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995). The word “elect’ literally means “picked out, chosen.” Every Christian who makes it to heaven is “elect of God” (Col 3:2; Rom 8:33). Being elect, he or she is also “predestined” or “predestinated,” as the King James Version renders it. Predestined means “to predetermine, decide beforehand” what our end shall be. No matter how messed up we appear to be when we come to God, we shall be just like Jesus in the end of time. That’s the meaning of the verse, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29).

 

I think that the most beautiful, elegant, and engaging concept of all in God’s sovereignty, is the idea of foreknowledge. The word “foreknowledge” is translated from the Greek word “prognosis.”  You may recognize that word as a common word referring to the doctor’s medical outlook for us, following his diagnosis. It meansforethought and pre-arrangement.” Foreknowledge is a compound word, ‘fore’ and ‘knowledge,’ which means to know ahead of time. But, it is not a passive word. It is transitive and causative. The word ‘know’ in the underlaying Hebrew is first introduced in the conjugal context. “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and, she conceived” (Gen 4:1). Here to “know” carries the distinct meaning “to be intimately connected with; to communicate life to, in love.” This is the sense in which we, God’s elect, are foreknown.

 

Before the Foundation of the World

 

In 1Peter 1:2, the scripture says that our very election derives from the fact that God foreknew us. In other words, the population of heaven was not left to chance, neither was it left to the will of mankind. But, before time began — before the Genesis 1:1 beginning — God picked out those from among the potential pool of mankind, and predetermined that they would be in  his final cast of salvation. God told Moses, “I know you BY NAME (Ex 33:12,17). True to the process and meaning of foreknowledge, God intimately, privately, and individually communicated his life to us in love “by name,” before He even created the world. We were chosen “by name,” not by subsequent reputation of works. It was a totally unilateral, sovereign, and purposeful decision of God the Father alone. And, subsequent to that foreknowledge, predestination came into view; meaning that the play of history was prewritten with the glorious salvation narratives of everyone who had been preselected to become God’s forever-child. As the word declares,

 

“[Our names] are written in the Lamb’s book of life… BEFORE the foundation of the world” (Rev21:27; 1Peter 1:20).

 

This is the high, holy, and glorious truth. From the beginning, man in his pride has argued and railed against this. Even most Christians that I know have trouble accepting this; at least, in the beginning. We just don’t want to accept that anyone, including and especially God, has control over our own destiny. “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul,” we prefer to believe. But, the scripture is clear. To those who still have doubts or objections, I will only point you now to this passage: Romans 9:6-24 – a whole entire chapter devoted to the truth of election. And, to those who embrace this doctrine, it is shouting time. Like Jesus said,

 

“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the [demons] are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because YOUR NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN HEAVEN (Luke 10:20). Selah. Hallelujah. Amen.

 

 

 

The Image of God

By Joseph Diop

Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Diop

Praise the name of JESUS — “Who is the [visible] image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). Amen. Children of God, do you really, really believe that that’s who and what Jesus is???  I am sure you do. Then, get ready to believe who and what WE really are too.

The Apostle John wrote, “Because, as  HE IS,  so  are we  in this world” (1John 4:17). We are nothing less than what Jesus is. But you say, this can’t be!! This is just too high, too wonderful, and too awesome to apprehend. You say, “Come again. Are you really sure about that?”  Well, let me put it to you then, like another first-hand, first-class witness, Apostle Paul, put it:

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the ‘HIGH CALLING OF GOD’ in Christ Jesus.”   Philippians 3:13-14

This is  the adventure for which we have all been purposed and created — so simple, yet so complex;  so complex, yet so simple.  From the very beginning  you are “created in [God’s] image and likeness”  (Gen 1:26-27), for “[His] glory”  (Isaiah 43:7). You are indeed  “A SEED-SIZE ISSUE OF ETERNAL GOD, YAHWEH” (God’s proper, personal name in Hebrew).  You are a medium of visibility for  “I AM… THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14). Or more simply stated, you were designed  from the very original blueprint of the Lord, to be  “a VISIBLE MEDIUM of God.”  Now, if that don’t just blow your mind, then I don’t know what will. You are a walking, talking, breathing  medium for the invisible Creator to make himself visible, tangible, and physical for the rest of creation to be able to see, experience, and enjoy  HIM.

You are a real, live, personal, 3-D  MOVIE — a Medium  Of  VIsibilty of  Elohim (Hebrew for ‘God’).

You are a living, self-aware hologram of the divine Heavenly Father.

This then, is the mold from which we were all cast from the very beginning — from the Genesis 1:26-27 beginning. But, in order to become this, we must be first born-again of the Spirit, then continue to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2Peter 3:18) —  a feat more easily said than done, considering how many great trials and conflicts we have to face along the way.  As the Word cautions, “We must through  much tribulation  enter the kingdom” (Acts 14:22).

Children of God, the Lord keep and preserve you unto this glorious end, purpose, and “high calling.”  I love and pray for you all to apprehend this blessed word.     Godspeed. Maranatha. Amen.

Aren’t you tired of living just to subsist like an animal? Wouldn’t you like to be a participant in an adventure such as we have just described?  This is the outlook of all who can call God their heavenly Father.  We’ve literally got God’s DNA inside of us.  The Word says,

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”   1John 3:2

And, this adventure is always with the companionship of our loving, heavenly Father. The scripture says, “Oh, what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the sons of God.”  (1John 3:1)

Is there any other outlook worthy of your humanity?? Isn’t that much more than the very best we could have hoped to achieve?  Ever?  Then, if you are ready to sign on and find that kind of life and possibility, then please pray the following suggested prayer.

Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now and receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.

Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000

If you are already a Christian, but are in need of repentance and rededication, then pray this prayer,

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for not serving you the way that I should. I open up my heart now, and give you full access and control. Have your way, Lord. Cleanse me from all my sin and idolatry. Fill me with your Holy Spirit again. Renew me, Lord. Make me the kind of person and servant I ought to be. Amen.

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000

What’s in The NAME??? Part 2

By Joseph Diop

Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Diop

If you were left breathless by Part 1, then Part 2 will put the wind back into you. If you felt reduced to nothing by Part 1, then Part 2 will build you back up to the max. Read on and see what the hype is all about.

The Yearning

What do we really, really want from a name or title?? What we really want is to be recognized as someone who is greatly loved, deeply cherished, totally appreciated, and highly prized for who we are. And, we don’t want to have to work for that. For, who we are, in our naked soul and bare-bones personality yearns to be loved for just that — just us.

In the Old Testament, there is a book that is greatly misunderstand, and read mainly when we want to improve our relationship with our spouses.That book is The Song of Solomon. On the surface, it appears to be a book about romantic human Iove — heightened passion, ardent emotion, fixated adoration, enraptured attraction, deepest affection, and expression of everlasting infatuation. Perfect for weddings and young lovers — right? Let me school you. What this book is really about is the everlasting love affair between the heart of God and the hearts of his people. His love for us is intense, direct, personal, passionate, eternal, climatic, and unconditional. From before the word ‘Go,’ He loves us, and He is IN love with us. He could never fall out of love with us. It could be said that God is impossibly and hopelessly in love with us. And, like they might say in slang, “God’s love is the bomb!”  In Song of Solomon, it says things like,

“O my love, you are altogether beautiful  and fair. There is no flaw  nor blemish in you!” (4:7 AMP)

“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is [stronger than] death. Its flames  are flames of fire — a most vehement flame.”  (8:6, [JED*])

“Your love is better than wine.” (1:2)

“Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes.” (1:15)

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” (2:4)

“I am my beloved’s, and  [my  beloved  is mine:] his  desire  is toward  me.” (7:10 [6:3])

“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field, “Do not [disturb nor interrupt our love, until it gets completely satisfied].” (2:7 NKJV, [JED*])

Now, wow!!! This is the true love affair and manner of talk between the heart of your God, and the heart of who you really are. That’s real love talk, and that’s the spirit of what really goes on with your spirit and God’s spirit behind the closed doors of your heart — at the deepest possible level. That’s the kind of communication that could have your soul declaring stuff like, “Oooohhhh!!!! Aahhh!!! Yesss!!! Yesss!! Yesss!!!”

I had an experience one time with the revelation of God’s love for me. It was unforgettable, overwhelming, mountaintop. When He revealed his love, do you know how I responded? With tears – lots of tears!!  I could say nothing more at all. So, I wept. I cried. I sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed. There is no other way to respond to that kind of all-consuming love — nothing that can approach adequate human expression. There are no mere words up to the task. All a man can possibly do is to weep — weep tears of acknowledgement, tears of appreciation, tears which say what no words can say, and tears from an utter humility and gratitude. These are tears which inadequately say, “Your love has reached and overwhelmed my heart. Thank you. Thank you. I love you too.” Those tears say alot. They talk the language of love to a God whose Spirit knows and recognizes all “groanings that cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).

The Contradiction

Now, the world will contradict God’s love for you. People, events, circumstances, and sometimes nature itself will have you thinking, “But, God can’t love me. If God loved me, then this evil would never have happened to me.” All those bad things that happen are just designed to be introductions to even deeper levels of God’s love. As it says,

For our  light  affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 2Cor 4:17

Troubles are never meant to be indications that God doesn’t love us. Like Paul said in Romans 8,

37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Surf

See, here’s where your faith has to learn the skill of surfing. It has to learn to skillfully negotiate the highs and lows of life. It must master how to maintain its balance and confession, no matter how high the journey takes us, no matter how fast we may plummet, and now matter which direction it carries us. We have to stay right on that surfboard of God’s love. And, even if we “wipe out,” no worries. God’s grace-filled love will pick us up, put us back on our feet, plant us squarely again on the surfboard of faith, and take us safely right along on our venture of life again.

Usually, whenever adversities come our way — I mean when real knock-down, drag-out troubles hit us — we conclude wrongfully that the devil has carried the day. NOT SO!!! Satan is just God’s servant too. He is a wicked servant, I’ll grant you that. He relishes every opportunity to “Steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). But, he’s still just a creature that our God made. God totally handles him. And, as we stated in Part 1 of this message, ALL creatures were created by God for his pleasure. This goes for Satan too. He’s just a player who can’t even get in the game, unless God calls his number. He’s just our Master’s bad dog, kept on the property for God to sic on those who “trespass against us” and “trespass against” Him. He’s like an old-school, military Drill Sergeant (DS). The Drill Sergeant would talk real bad to the recruits, push them to the limit, sometimes even curse them, and do everything he could to intimidate them. But, the real unit Commander — the one who gave the DS his authority and sent him to them — loosed that DS on them to train those green, young recruits and whip them into shape. As a matter of fact, the Apostle John has been credited with saying, “The devil is just God’s feeble left hand.”

So, when bad things happen, the key is to remember who God our Father really IS — the Sovereign, Omnipotent, Almighty, Eternal, Lord and Creator, who alone rules this universe. The word declares, “Say unto Zion, ‘Your God  reigns!'”  What “reigns” literally means is: “God exercises control over all creatures, in all places, at all times. God leaves nothing to chance.”

God is God all by himself. He has no competition. No one is like him. Nobody is in his league. He is in supreme, everlating, absolute, and total CONTROL. So, as I heard one Bible teacher, Charles Stanley, put it, “You must see all things that happen as coming from the hand of God.”

Here’s what God taught me. I call it God’s one-two punch for knocking the Devil out — an upper cut, followed by a strong right cross. ONE: Confess Romans 8:28.  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

TWO: Follow that up immediately with an application of Hebrews 13:15, which says,

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”

Now, we have just confessed in the face of this trouble that God IS in control here. We recognize that fact and give him thanks for using this particular event for our good and for his holy purpose. We have reaffirmed, that no matter how it may look or feel at the PRESENT moment, our God means this for our good. Ain’t nothin’ goin’ on in our life but the will of God. It is a blessing in disguise, sometimes in a very good disguise, but it’s still a blessing. We know, because that’s what Romans 8 tells us. My wife likes to say, “Romans eight will keep you straight.”

Now, you can’t play around with these principles. You can’t be half-hearted or try to cheat the system. You have to specifically identify that bad event, call it by name, and specifically give thanks for God allowing it to happen to you. And, when you do this, God will immediately give you the victory. He will “turn your captivity.” He will turn your sorrows into seeds of a new harvest of righteousness, and He will make those losses to become launching pads to a whole new level of his glory. This is the sure way to make quick and ineffective work of any seeming assaults of the Devil. And, this will make you to speed quickly and mightily along on your path of Christian growth and development. Romans 5 tells us,

3  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4  And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

What that told us is that all things come from the hand of God, including troubles. And, troubles only are specifically and explicitly purposed by God to induct us into a greater dimension of his love. My personal testimony is this:

“It is God who stands behind all the scenes of life: commanding, controlling, orchestrating, resolving, and directing ALL things for his glory and for our good.”

The Resolution

So, stop playing the world’s game. The world plays a game of erecting for themselves great names, exalted titles, impressive reputations, and imposing claims of importance. Rest your heart and mind. Just fall in love with the God who loves you more than words could ever communicate. Ultimately, who you are — if you are elect, and if you are anybody at all to Him — is this: You are GOD’S LOVE — his precious, adored, and cherished one.” And, there’s no greater or higher honor, nobility, calling, designation, title, or recognition that can be had other than that. When you feel this love for yourself, then you will know what I mean. Then, beyond all doubt, question, and challenge, you will know who and what you are. And, your heart will sing, and be much more than satisfied.

* = JED, stands for Joseph Emmauel Diop, my personal paraphrase

The Decision

Aren’t you tired of being a cosmetic personality — of wearing a mask? Wouldn’t you like to know the peace of heart that comes from being loved simply for being you? Jesus, said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Christ’s yoke is his love for us, and his burden is his love for others. And, that’s the only way to live — love in, love out. And, if you are ready to find that kind of life and love, then please pray the following suggested prayer.

Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now and receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.

Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000

If you are already a Christian, but are in need of repentance and rededication, then pray this prayer,

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for not serving you the way that I should. I open up my heart now, and give you full access and control. Have your way, Lord. Cleanse me from all my sin and idolatry. Fill me with your Holy Spirit again. Renew me, Lord. Make me the kind of person and servant I ought to be. Amen.

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000



What’s in The NAME???

By Joseph Diop

Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Diop

I will declare Thy NAME unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.  Psalm 22:22

Who are you, really? Or, as Jesus would put it, “Who do men say that YOU are?” Do you have an answer? Or, do you just have a cosmetic “rep” that satisfies the masses, but does nothing for your heart? Let me tell you. If you knew who your God IS, then you would know who you really are too. In this powerful article, “What’s in The NAME?”, I share a blockbuster revelation on both who God is, and therefore who we are. I cordially invite you along with me on this journey of discovery.

The NAME

To begin this, we must lay a little Biblical groundwork. To get help for our hearts, to learn who we truly are, we must first build on a solid foundation of truth. Let’s go back to the opening words of what Jesus said is the first and greatest commandment of all.

“Hear, O Israel.
The LORD thy God is One.”
Mark 12:28-30: Deut 6:4

This is Part A of an A-B commandment. People usually only quote Part B, which is,

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…”   Mark 12:30

But, Part B is built first upon the foundation, understanding, and appreciation of Part A. So, Part A will be the focus of this lesson.

The very first words of God to us, “Hear, O Israel,” communicate  this: “Hear” in Hebrew means to “LISTEN” —  Listen:  attentively, diligently, obediently. So, that’s like urgently saying,

“Listen up, people of God!! The LORD God of Hosts has something to say. It is imperative that you focus on what he says, so that you may know to do what he commands. So, give him now your strict, undivided attention!!!”

Then, comes the phrase, “The LORD (JeHoVaH, in Hebrew) is ONE.” This is the very first thing to be understood by God’s camp. This is the cornerstone of all right knowledge, truth, doctrine, and information. Failure to apprehend, understand, and appreciate this one fact, leads to all other errors, lies, and heresies that exist. So, let’s take a close look at what is communicated here.

“The LORD” — all capitals — is the way the proper name of God is recorded in the King James Bible. That name is “I AM THAT I AM,” or simply, “I AM” (Ex 3:14). ‘AM’ is the verb of ‘being.’ “Being” denotes: one having life, or one in existence.

The name may further be inferred to mean: “I AM life itself. I AM the ‘being’ who can only be compared to myself.” As the scripture also declares emphatically: “I am God, and there is  none  like  me” (Isa 46:9). And, “That thou mayest know that there is  none  like  me  ‘in all the earth'” (Ex 9:14). So, the message for sure is, “If you are ‘in the earth,’ then know assuredly that you are NOT like God.” God is peerless. God is incomparable. God is without equal. This is all declared, expressed, and implied by his Name alone. So, Eve’s bid to be “like God” in the sense of in any way becoming equal to Him, was doomed to dismal failure from the start. Since God’s name is “I AM… THAT I AM,” then my name and your name and everybody else’s name can only be   ” i am… NOT.”

Again, God’s name is “I AM… THAT I AM.”  By intensifying himself by himself, describing himself by himself, modifying himself by himself, and comparing himself to himself alone, God has given himself a name which speaks inexhaustible volumes and wonders, but it does communicate something along the lines of the following truth:

I AM the LORD and there is none else…
I AM the LORD and there is none else…
There is no God besides me.   Isaiah 45:5,6

He says the exact same thing in two consecutive verses. By repeating himself back to back with this affirmation, he intensifies the lesson, and draws attention to its message. He is saying, “Wake up. If you didn’t get it the first time, then certainly get it the second time.” There is nobody BUT God — no one, nobody — not a single other being. He himself IS the lone life in existence. This is fact one (#1) — the bedrock of all truth and knowledge.

I am fully aware how strange this interpretation of God’s name may sound to most of you. You probably never have heard anyone expound on it quite like this before. Be that as it may, truth cannot be declared by democratic processes. No majority rule here. You don’t conduct a poll on reality or determine it by any consensus of opinion. It simply is what it is. The word is the word. It says what it means and it means what it says. Scripture says, “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom 3:4). I assure you this is no error, confusion, or heresy. It is true, sure, sound, certain, rock-solid, rightly divided word of truth. And, if you will just keep on reading, I promise you as you go along it will sound more and more right.

God’s name itself is the essence, fact, and declaration of unity — of oneness. He is the oneness of oneness, and the unity of unities. And, could he then be, the singularity of singularities? Anything to the contrary is wrong, but this will be more clear when we get to the next part of this lesson.

The ONE

The opening revelation of Part A of the greatest commandment, is God’s name. The second half of that opening is the explicit declaration, “The LORD is ONE.” If there was any doubt as to the inference of his name, then this lays all doubts to rest, spelling it out. There is but one lone, single, solitary being in existence in the universe. And, the LORD is he. All the rest of us creatures — the whole multitudinous myriad of angels and men — participate in His being, never diminishing his oneness. Like Paul said, “In him we [all] live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

One GIANT misconception from a popular, false teaching is that man is a “spirit” having a soul, living inside a physical body. That is a COLOSSAL error, and is responsible for untold confusion in the church. It is patently false and misleading. What scripture actually teaches is this:

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became A LIVING SOUL.   Genesis 2:7

There it is !!!   Man is “a living soul,” NOT a spirit. And, that’s ALL man is, but thank God, we are exactly that. The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit comprise the One God (1John 5:7). As One, they are the Godhead. The word says,  “By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (1Cor 12:12). Therefore the church, the body of Christ, can rightly be called, “The GODHOOD.” Never let these lines become blurred in your mind. God will always be God, and we will always be but men, NOT God. But, when the end comes, and Jesus himself disappears into the Godhead, then it says, “God [will] be all in all” (1Cor 15:28). Then, it will be said that the body of Christ will have become the “body of God.”

The Holy Spirit is He, God, who compacts and collapses all things into God’s divine oneness. We might say, the Holy Spirit is the Person/Presence/Agent therefore, who makes all things ‘Whole’ — a part of the Eternal ONE again — thus, making them ‘Holy.’ This is not a play on words. Truly, this is words simply playing their intended role, to help us to understand the mystery of God. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we become a reacquired part of the Oneness of God.

1Corinthians says, we have “all been made to drink into one Spirit” (12:13). “We, being many, are one bread” (10:17).  And, “He who is joined to the Lord is ONE SPIRIT” (6:17).

He always remains above, beyond, transcendant, over-arching, and more than any and all of his creatures. God is never only equal to the sum of all his parts. He is the ONE to whom we all belong, but all of us together could never contain or equal him, for God is eternal. “Eternal” conveys the truth that unlike his created order, He could never change, being at the same time over, above, beyond, beneath, and through all things — the common denominator of all things existing — yet not at all limited to nor bound by them. In Colossians 1:17, the word says,

And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. (KJV)

He Himself existed  and  is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [His is the controlling, cohesive force of the universe.]  (Amplified Bible, AMP)

He is before all, and all things subsist together by him. (Darby Translation)

Christ existed before all things, and in union with him all things have their proper place.  (Good News Translation, GNT)

It is only God’s divine prerogative as God, his “pleasure,” which gives everything its unique distinction from everything else — its capacity to be distinguighed and differentiated from all other created things.  In other words, you are what you are, only because it pleases God for you to be so — separate, distinct, unique, and individual. You are just a possibility existing in the mind of God, made real only because He was pleased by the thought. As Revelation 4:11 states,

For  thou  hast  created  all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were  created. (KJV)

You created all things, and because of Your will they exist, and were created  and  brought into being [in the first place].” (AMP, brackets mine).

Everything existed and was made because you wanted it.  (Easy-to-Read Version)

These all affirm that whatever appeals to the mind of God, the will of God has the ability to bring into being. Thus, making everything only a part of the drama that is “the story of His glory” — His Story — which we aptly, but unmindfully call “his-story” — history.

We, God’s people, are referred to as members of the body of Christ. As it says, “For we, being many members are yet ONE body” (1Cor 12:12). Any body’s identity is reckoned by its head. By that I mean, you would never think to walk up to a man, and say to his right index finger, “Finger, who are you?” If the finger could talk, it would surely say, “I’m just a member of the body. Talk to the head.” Likewise, it would never enter your mind to approach anyone, look at their right big toe and ask, “Toe, who are you?” If that toe could answer, it would surely tell you, “I’m just one of many body parts. You’ll have to ask the head who we all are. He can tell you.” Then, if you walked up to this man, looked him square in his face, and asked him, “Sir, who are you?” Then, the exalted one would tell you, “I AM Christ Jesus the Lord, the Son of the living God.”

You see, in this world we get all hung up on proclaiming our identity — who we think we are. That is all vain delusion. God is The One (1). We all together, are big, fat zero (0). Abraham said, “I am but DUST and ASHES” (Gen 18:27). David said, “Surely men of low degree are VANITY, and men of high degree are a LIE: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.” And he said, “I am a WORM” (Ps 62:9; 22:6).  Paul said, “If a man thinks himself to be something, when he is NOTHING, he deceives himself.” And he said, “I am NOTHING” (Gal 6:3; 2Cor 12:11). James said, “For what is your life? It is even a VAPOR,  that  appears for a little time, and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Jesus said “I AM meek and LOWLY in heart” (Matt 11:29). We likewise, must fall in line with their confession. We MUST acknowledge that we ourselves are nothing, so that we may be filled with the ONE who is really Something, and Everything, and THE Thing.

Names and titles too are all vain and relatively meaningless. We are all nothing more than what we mean to the heart of God, and that is really unknowable to any other creature. So, the issue is not, “Who do i say that i am?”  But rather, “Who does GOD say that i am in His mind?” And, only God can answer that question for anyone. The answer to that question is our true name, which God will not reveal to any other creature. As it says,

God “will give him a white stone with a new name engraved on the stone, which no one knows except the one who receives it.” (Rev 2:17, AMP)

So, God will create a new language for you, which no other creature can even speak, read, nor write. There, He will reveal your name. No one else will know that language. Your true name is actually too precious to God to be shared with any other creature. Your name will be undecipherable and inscrutable to all others. Ultimately, who we all are is the same — unique subjects of God’s ineffable, unfathomable, unspeakable, and  boundless love. And, that should be enough to satisfy any human heart.

Your Decision

Aren’t you tired of being a cosmetic personality — of wearing a mask? Wouldn’t you like to know the peace of heart that comes from being loved simply for being you? Jesus, said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Christ’s yoke is his love for us, and his burden is his love for others. And, that’s the only way to live — love in, love out. And, if you are ready to find that kind of life and love, then please pray the following suggested prayer.

Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now and receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.

Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000

If you are already a Christian, but are in need of repentance and rededication, then pray this prayer,

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for not serving you the way that I should. I open up my heart now, and give you full access and control. Have your way, Lord. Cleanse me from all my sin and idolatry. Fill me with your Holy Spirit again. Renew me, Lord. Make me the kind of person and servant I ought to be. Amen.

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000

You Talkin’ to Me??

Copyright © 2013 by Joseph Diop

It is widely believed that Old Testament belongs to the study of history, and so often we treat it as such. If we are to believe the words of Romans 15:4 and 1Corinthaians 10:6-11, then our thinking has to be dramatically reoriented.  Listen:

4For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for OUR learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.   Romans 15:4       And,

6Now these things were OUR EXAMPLES, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  7Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  1Corinthaians 10:6-11

The fact is that their experiences – those of Isreal and Judah of old – were very real and very personal, but what is also just as true is that God was using them to speak directly and presently to us. Using historical characters as object lessons, He was teaching us and driving home points to us in a living and powerful way. There’s no other mode of teaching so real. So, yes; God was speaking to you and to me, through the scriptures of the Old Testament.

Therefore, we should no longer say things like, “This passage is speaking to Israel, and therefore has an application not directly bearing on us, but we can take something from this.” Instead, with new understanding and firm resolve, we should say, “The lessons in this passage are directed to us today, and we must either learn them, or face the same fate as the people whom we are studying.”  It is said, “Those who don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

The Word records that God delivered the words of the Law (and all subsequent scripture too, for that matter) to His people, and that “…[they] received the living oracles to give unto us” (Acts 7:38). Both Old Testament history, as well as the prophecies they contain, are meant for us in the church age. This truth is contained in the sermons of the apostles and their epistles. For example, consider this sermon Peter preached at the Temple when the lame man was healed.

24Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days25Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. Acts 3:24-26

Peter here says unequivocally that Samuel and all the prophets foretold of these days. Which days? These days—the days right now. These are the days of the apostles and onwards, the days since Pentecost, the days called the “church age.” Furthermore he says, “Ye are the children of the prophets.” Who? “Ye are.” Again, to whom is he speaking? Peter is addressing a generation of believers and potential disciples of Jesus Christ. We are believers and active disciples of Jesus Christ. Peter was talking to them and to all who would follow, until the end of time. And he tells us that we are “children of the prophets.” How so? We are their children, because like the prophets, we also believe in God. Like the prophets, we have the Holy Spirit. Like the prophets, we also are inheriting the kingdom of God. Like the prophets, we also are subject to persecution, because of our faith (Mt 5:11-12). And like the prophets, the words which they believe, “belong unto [us] and to our children” (Dt 29:29). When the prophets spoke about the children—God’s children—their words were spoken to us and about us. For we are  God’s children—without differentiation, without distinction, and without prejudice. That’s why the scripture says:

27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.   Gal 3:27-27          It also says,

10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Col 3:10-11

This is true, because being children of Abraham is not about race, but about grace. It was never about flesh, but about faith. We are Abraham’s children, because we have the same believing, faithful spirit as Abraham. He was “the father of many nations” (Rom 4:17). Since the spirit is supreme, that makes us both children of Abraham and also of the prophets. Peter said,

39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Acts 2:39

For sure, we are a generation “afar off,” but we too have been called through the gospel. So, as the apostle declared in his preaching, “the promise is unto [us] and to [our] children.” What promise? The promise of the gospel. And whatever promises were spoken to the prophets, or to the priests, or to bygone righteous souls, or to their kings, belong to us. The promise of the indwelling Holy Ghost, and every word that has proceeded out of the mouth of God from the beginning of the world until now, belong squarely to us.

Now then, we are faced with a great identity crisis in the church today. We are confused. We know that we are children of God. What we don’t know is that we are the selfsame children that the prophets were speaking to and speaking about in the Old Testament. We think somehow that we are a different group. The Jews are “God’s chosen people.” And we are not Jews, so we think. Well then, who are we? Let’s define ‘Jews’ the way Apostle Paul defined Jews.

28For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Roman 2:28,29

So then, true Jewishness is not at all about the flesh, but about the spirit. Our old Gentile hearts were circumcised by faith in Christ Jesus (Col 2:11). When that happened, we became new creatures (2Cor 5:17), who are children of God. And the children of God are referred to as “God’s chosen people”—chosen through the election of grace (Rom 9:11). Listen to Peter again.

9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:  10Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.    1Peter 2:9-10  Hallelujah.  Amen.

So then, we now are “chosen. And we enjoy all the same privileges and promises of God as do all of his chosen people. There’s no segregation is God’s house. There’s no Jim Crow among his chosen. There are no second class citizens in God’s kingdom. There is no “back of the bus” with regards to the covenants and promises of God. Neither does being a fully-enfranchised American make any difference or give any special privileges, where the things of God and His kingdom are concerned. You are either a saint, or you ain’t. It’s just that cut-and-dried. We are all one in Christ Jesus. And we ‘chosen’ are without distinction or racialism—no Jew and Gentile here. Therefore, we must stop thinking of ourselves as ‘Gentiles.’ For there are no Gentiles in Christ, the Word says. Neither are there Jews in Christ, ethnically speaking; for in Christ there is only “One New Man” (Eph 2:15). This is a vast subject, and all-encompassing. Let us bring here the all-encompassing knowledge of Apostle Paul to bear on the subject.

11Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  17And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21In whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Eph 2:11-21

Let me recapitulate what the apostle has just said. We used to be called Gentiles, but no more. Now we are considered “fellow citizens with the saints” (vs 19b),1 and of the “commonwealth of Israel” (vs 14b), and of all who were before us, including all the prophets, priests, and kings. We are now genuine members of “the household of God” (vs 19c). And along with every believer who has ever lived, we are “built together for a habitation of God through the Spirit— [the Holy Spirit]” (vs 22). Jesus has ‘abolished’ (vs 15a) all former distinctions in his own body. The apostle says, Christ “hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (vs 14a). And now, we are one people—a very fortunate people— who “have obtained mercy” (1Pet 2:10c).

(1The letters a,b,c designate the relative positions of the phrases of the verses from Ephesians 2:11-21)

And Paul declared that this was a great mystery in times past, which he endeavored to expound with all the gifts and power of the Spirit of God working in and with him.

3How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:  Eph 3:3-6

Now, children, we can begin anew to study and to learn from the books of the Old Testament. We can listen with fresh ears and fully attentive minds. Now, we will find the messages contained therein real, relevant, and crucial for our own days and times, because they are indeed aimed at our days and times. These messages are, in fact, speaking expressly to us. They are only using the experiences and lives of historical figures and times as a medium. Let me here reiterate the main point of this all by citing once again the main scripture.

4For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for OUR learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.   Romans 15:4       And,

6Now these things were OUR EXAMPLES, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  7Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  1Corinthaians 10:6-11

We, the Church, the people of the New Testament – including all Jewish believers – ARE the people upon whom the ends of the world are come (1Cor 10:11). Essentially, this then is a great ‘Gotcha!’ moment. This is like Nathan the prophet, sent to finger David for his dastardly deed concerning Uriah the Hittite, using a story about a third party to illustrate the heinousness of the offence. Seeing that we have convicted the people of old for their habitual sin and rebellion, God is now saying to this generation, “Thou art the man!” Thou art that “disobedient and contrary people” (Rom 10:21 NKJV). Or, concerning the word that is good and the promise that is desirable, know now that when God says, “They… are my people” (Eze 34:30), the ‘they’ is US. 

Therefore, however and by whatever name God refers to or addresses his covenant people, we are included. As it is metaphorically explained to all gentiles in the New Testament, “You were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature  into a good olive tree… some of the branches [were] broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree” (Romans 11:24, 17). So, we who were gentiles ethnically, have been grafted into God’s covenant people. And, God addresses us by a number of covenant names, including but not limited to: Israel, Judah, Zion, Jerusalem, children of Isreal, my people, daughter of Zion, Jacob, and etc. GOD is the God of Israel then, now, and always (Ex 3:15). And, if the Lord is now your God, it is only because you have now been “grafted into” his covenant people through Jesus Christ.

God’s Word remains unchanged throughout all ages. And now, with fresh mind and understanding, let us hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. For this generation – you and me today – are the target audience of all the scritptures are saying. So yes, children,    God is  talkin’ to us.