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God Can Clean Up Your Mess

And the winner is...you!

And the winner is…you!

Being confident of this, that He [God himself] who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

“He will keep you firm to the very end, so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.” – 1 Corinthians 1:8

Both the Old and the New Testament teach that election and salvation is a sovereign work of God’s grace. God is the One who chooses us, God is the One who gives us faith to believe, God is the one who does the work of regeneration, and it is God who preserves us to the very end of our lives. True Christians patiently look forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and they will trust in His promises until they are fulfilled. Those that have this hope will be blameless in the day of Christ, made so by the rich and free grace of God.

Christians are distinguished from the profane and the atheists, that they have been chosen of God, and they have chosen to follow God.

Since God chose us from the foundations of the world, He didn’t wait for us to “clean up our act,” so to speak. He knew, in advance, what a mess we would make of our lives in many cases. Yet, God overlooked our sinful condition before coming to Christ foreknowing what a glorious transformation we would make one day. He also saw all sinful blunders we would commit – even after coming to Christ – as part of the process of transformation. Praise be to God that our Heavenly Father, continues to love us and patiently work with us despite ourselves, and the many, many times we fall short of perfection.

Why? Because He foreknew that we would eventually experience complete regeration and Christ-likeness. He keeps His eye on the big picture. He saw ahead of time, the beautiful masterpiece our lives would turn out to be.

Because He is the author of our book, He knows exactly how our story will end. He has already written the last chapter and it is thrilling! Surprisingly, it does have a happy ending. He has promised it will be a best seller among the saints and angels in heaven.

I can rest assured of my salvation.

“We love Him, because He first loved us..” – 1 John 4:19

I can rest in the assurance that God doesn’t make mistakes. Because our Heavenly Father chose us and loved us before we were able to love Him back, He saw the winner in us, not the loser.

I’m also glad that He gave me a free will. He gave me the ability to choose who I want to spend eternity with. I’m glad that my Heavenly Father didn’t make that choice for me; He wants us to choose Him of our own volition. He wants children that voluntarily love Him and want to be with Him in heaven. He does not want slaves who involuntarily give Him lip service. Everyone in heaven, and throughout eternity, will be present with God because they voluntarily chose to be there.

But right now, I have to admit, that sometimes my life is still a little messy. I’m not happy about it; I wish I could do better. I want to live in a manner that is pleasing to my Heavenly Father and make Him proud of me. But regardless of how messy it becomes at times, I’m not anxious about my eternal future. I am confident that despite the temporal setbacks, I am slowly being transformed into the image of Christ – holy and blameless. The inward man is being renewed day-by-day (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Beloved, we are the sons and daughters of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when Christ shall appear again, we shall be like Him. Praise be to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in heavenly places with all spiritual blessings.

Let us always remember that no matter how messy it’s been in the past, we have a glorious future ahead of us!

– Luis Josephus

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God Chooses Winners

winner

And the winner is… You!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to Sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will…” – Ephesians 1:3-6

Isn’t it reassuring to know that God personally chose us before He laid the foundations of this world – billions of years ago?

Most Christians will readily affirm that our salvation is by grace through faith in what Jesus the Messiah accomplished for us on the cross. They may even be able to quote Ephesians 2:8-9 from memory, and equally affirm that we are not saved by our own good works, lest anyone of us have opportunity to take credit for our own salvation. But what most believers fail to understand is the concept of God’s sovereignty in the matter of election. In theological terms it is called Predestination.

The fact is, none of us would be saved today if God Himself had not chosen us long ago to salvation. Jesus Himself validated this truth when He said, “For no one can come to me unless [God] the Father draws them to me…” (John 6:44). Both the Old and the New Testament teach that election and salvation is a sovereign work of God’s grace. God is the One who chooses us, God is the One who gives us faith to believe, God is the one who does the work of regeneration, and it is God who sustains us to the very end of our lives.

Because of my Armenian theological background, I used to have a problem with this.

I used to wrestle with the issue of salvation and man’s free will. I once believed that Free Will Theology and God’s election were incompatible. Then one day, I heard a well-known theologian explain it in a way I could understand and agree with. I realized that man could have a free will, and I could still believe in the sovereignty of God with regards to election and salvation. The answer lies in understanding God’s foreknowledge (1). The apostle Paul describes this concept in Romans 8:28-30:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Notice that Paul says that whom God foreknew He predestined and called to salvation. Since God is all knowing, He knew ahead of time who would choose to accept His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. In other words, He could see into the future – from the foundation of this world, who would make the decision, out of their own free will, to be saved. He knew beforehand who the winners were, and who the losers were, so to speak.

Take the Lottery, for example. I don’t gamble, but I know many Christians who have a weakness for this vice. If you could know ahead of time which numbers would win and which would lose, why would you bet on the losing numbers? That’s how God’s foreknowledge works. He knew in advance that you and I would choose Jesus Christ and become His winners. And because we are the winners – and not the losers, He chose us and predestined us to justification and glorification. Our eternal security is assured, because God doesn’t pick losers, but winners.

The God of this universe chose us from the foundation of this world to be adopted into His family and become His beloved sons and daughters. He has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus! How wonderful is that?

– Luis Josephus

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1. In his omniscience and foreknowledge, God knows what the future holds both for individuals and for nations. He knows and sees everything in advance and his will is carried out in accord with his plans and purposes. In the Old Testament God’s foreknowledge is usually represented by the verb yada is the normal verb for “know.” In the New Testament the main verbs are proginosko, “to know in advance, ” and proorao, “to see what is ahead.” Foreknowledge is closely connected to election and predestination and to God’s sovereign rule of his universe. – Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology


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Crazy Man or Genius?

Martin LutherMartin Luther’s teaching of Justification by Faith.

Martin Luther was a German friar, priest, professor of theology, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Initially an Augustinian friar, Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.” – Wikipedia

In the following video message below, Professor R. C. Sproul teaches about the life of Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483 – 1546 AD) who pioneered the way for the Protestant Reformation.

Because of his rejection of Roman Catholic doctrines and his teachings of Justification by Faith, Luther was excommunicated from his position of priesthood in the church. The Pope of that time, labeled him a crazy man and “a wild pig” (See Ex Surge Domine).

But Luther was neither; He was a genius that God used to bring the Christian Church out of superstition, false doctrine, idolatry, and the dreadful years known as, “the Dark Ages.”

The modern church today has much to be grateful for – to God, and the courageous efforts of reformers like John Wycliff, Martin Luther, John Knox, John Calvin, William Tyndale, and so many others. It is true that these were also imperfect men that made mistakes about other matters. But they were all right about one thing: Salvation comes by faith alone – we cannot earn it by our good works – it is a free gift from God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

– Luis Josephus

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Did Rahab the ex-prostitute become a virtuous woman?

Many people will be surprised to discover that Jesus was not only a physical descendant of King David, but also of Rahab the ex-prostitute of Jericho. But, keep in mind, Rahab was a harlot who changed her ways and came before the living God in repentance.

Rahab was a Canaanite woman who ran an “Inn” in Jericho. It was actually a house of prostitution where men could spend the night with the woman of their choice. Murray Johnson writes:

“It is very important that we understand what the text really says about Rahab. It says Rahab was a harlot. What better place for the spies to hide out than at Rahab’s house? With all the comings and goings of a whorehouse, they could blend in easily. However, these men were on a righteous mission. “

Rahab was a prostitute herself. As a Canaanite, she was also a worshipper of a great number of deities of the Canaan religion, including Baal (god of fertility), Dagon (god of the crops) and Molech (god of fire). When Joshua sent two of his men to Jericho to spy out the city for destruction, they came to Rahab’s place. When the king of Jericho heard about their visit, he sent his soldiers to kill them. Rahab took sides – not with her own people – but with the children of Israel. She protected the two spies at great peril to her life, and hid them on her roof for three days. She also lied to the king’s soldiers and sent them on a wild goose chase. She told them that the spies had already left out of the city gate.

After the soldiers departed and the coast was clear, she went up to the roof and made them promise to protect her and her father, mother, brothers and sisters. The two spies agreed to protect her and her family when Joshua and his army returned to destroy the city.

Rahab’s confession of faith.

She declared, “…for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”Joshua 2:11

Rahab’s faith in the God of Israel was greater than her fear. By embracing Yahovah God – the Eternal, living God, she was renouncing all pagan gods that she had once worshipped. The moment she made the confession of faith, “…for the LORD [Yahovah] your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below”, Rahab was saved from her sins, spiritually born-again, and accepted into God’s family. It did not matter that she was formerly a prostitute, or an idol worshipper, or whatever, God is no respecter of persons; whoever will come to Him in repentance and faith will be accepted by Him. Rahab is a prime example of how God loves to take the worst of sinners and turn them into saints. His arms are always open to anyone who feareth Him and worketh righteousness (Acts 10:34-35).

Rahab, the ex-prostitute, was transformed into a new creature in Christ.

Her faith was backed up by the evidence of good works when she risked her life to save the two spies. She is praised twice in the New Testament. The apostle James describes her justification by her good works:

”Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by [good] works, when she had received the messengers and had sent them out another way?” (James 2:25)

Rahab’s faith and actions working together was approved of God who forgave her immoral past and justified her (acquitted her of guilt) in His sight.

The writer of Hebrews also praises Rahab in Hebrews 11:31. She perished not with the rest of her city when the walls of Jericho fell down and Joshua’s men killed all who lived there. Rahab’s faith and the scarlet thread she let hang down from her window was a type of the blood of Jesus Christ – the Messiah to come. It paralleled the Passover lamb. Just as the blood of the lamb was put on the houses of the Israelites in order to protect them from the judgment of God, so the scarlet line hanging from Rahab’s house brought safety and deliverance for her and her family.

Rahab marries a Jew.

After converting to Judaism, Rahab became a righteous woman. She joined herself  to the people of God, the children of Israel. She left her sordid past behind, continued to travel with the Israelites, and eventually married a Jewish man named Salmon of the tribe of Judah. Their marriage gave birth to Boaz who married Ruth, who birthed Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of King David.

What an amazing testimony of what God can do! He transformed a former prostitute into the ancestral grandmother of Israel’s greatest king – David, the man after God’s own heart. In Matthew’s geneology, even our Lord Jesus Christ was an ancestor of Salmon and Rahab (Matthew 1:1,5).

Whosoever calls on the Lord shall be saved.

If you’ve been struggling with a life of sin, or you have done something in your past that is so bad you’ve never told anyone, and you have wondered if God could ever forgive you, remember what He accomplished in the life of Rahab the ex-prostitute and idol worshipper from Jericho. There is no sin too big for God – He will forgive you if you sincerely repent and call upon His name in faith. There is always hope and forgiveness:

”And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Acts 2:21

“Whoever” means you! There is no sin so grievous that Jesus cannot forgive. He died on the cross and shed His blood to forgive all types of sins – small sins as well as big sins. Call upon Jesus today and be forgiven and saved from your old life. He will give you a new life from this day forward and transform you into the man or woman He created you to be.

Pray this prayer right now:

Dear Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins. I repent of my past life. Please forgive me. I promise to live for you from this day forward. I receive you today as my Savior and Lord of my life. Amen.

If you just prayed this prayer, email us and let us rejoice with you.

–         Luis Josephus

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Fess Up When You Mess Up

Grace For Today“Fess up” is a modern phrasal verb that means “to admit that you have done something wrong.” In biblical terminology, it means “to confess your sin.” Even though we have been forgiven and saved by trusting on Jesus Christ, God understands that we still sin. That’s why He reminds us in 1 John 1:9:

 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The precious, cleansing blood of Messiah Jesus our Savior is available to us, at any time, to cleanse us from all sin. All that God asks of us is to “confess” or “fess up” when we know we have sinned, once again, and missed the mark of God’s holy commandments.

Confession on our part helps us to recognize that we still struggle against the old sinful nature and how often we fall short of God’s standard of perfection. On a daily basis, confession also keeps us humble and dependent on God’s grace and mercy. Without regular confession, we have a tendency to become prideful and self-righteous. We may even become blind to our faults and self-deceived – like the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable (Luke 18:9-14). This pompous religionist looked down on other people and declared himself more righteous than the Publican because “he wasn’t an immoral person, fasted twice a week, and gave tithes of all he possessed.” Yet Jesus said he was still lost!

Only the Publican went home “justified” because he humbled and pleaded with God to forgive him – a sinner.

–         Pastor Luis Yosefus

REAL JESUS MINISTRIES
www.RealJesus.net
RealJesusMinistries@gmail.com

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Related Messages:
Get Over Past Failures
Prayers God Will Not Hear
God Be Merciful To Me A Sinner


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God Be Merciful To Me A Sinner

Grace For Today“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” – Luke 18:9-13

Without recognition of our sinfulness, we have a tendency to become prideful and self-righteous. We may even become self-deceived, like the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable (Luke 18:9-14). This pompous religionist looked down on other people and declared himself more righteous than the Publican because he wasn’t an immoral person, fasted twice a week, and gave tithes of all he possessed. Yet Jesus said he was still lost!

Notice Jesus said in verse 14 that only the Publican went home “justified” – forgiven by God and acquitted of his sins. The self-righteous Pharisee never got saved! He was obviously a religious man, fasted twice a week, and gave tithes of all he possessed. But his religion didn’t do him any good; he was trying to earn his salvation by his own efforts, not by faith in what Christ did for us on the cross. Despite his exceptional acts of piety and outward goodness, he thought he didn’t need the grace of God.

The Publican (i.e. Tax Collector) on the other hand, was deeply conscious of his sinfulness and guilt before God. In true FAITH, HUMILITY, and REPENTANCE, he pleaded with God to forgive him and be merciful.

The point of Jesus’ parable is that the Publican typifies the true child of God; one who continually recognizes his wretchedness and cries out for God’s amazing grace to sustain him. The assurance of his salvation is not based on his own good works, nor perfect obedience to God’s commandments, but on the certainty of God’s goodness and mercy towards all His children who abide in Jesus Christ and persevere in faith to the end.

–         Pastor Luis Yosefus

REAL JESUS MINISTRIES
www.RealJesus.net
RealJesusMinistries@gmail.com

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Related Messages:
Fess Up When You Mess Up
Get Over Past Failures
Prayers God Will Not Hear
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Comment from http://TheGospelOfGrace.Wordpress.com: “Amen. and Amen and Amen. I believed the publican justified after leaving the synagogue. I also believed next time the publican went to the synagogue He didn’t do the same thing again just like what he did the other time. Grace and peace.”



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Reverting back to the law of Moses brings a curse.

Reverting back to the law of Moses brings a curse.

Christians Are Not Under the Law of Moses - By Luis Yosefus

During the early days of the Christian church, the Galatian believers (both Jews and Gentiles) were in danger of falling from grace. Certain false teachers labeled as “Judaisers” had secretly infiltrated the church and were convincing the naïve new Christians that they needed to be circumcised and follow the Mosaic laws to be saved. When the apostle Paul heard about it, he was extremely alarmed. He pronounced a curse on these Judaisers and anyone who preached anything but the Gospel of Grace.

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:8

Although the apostle Paul was a believing Jew himself, he was appalled that other Jews had come into the Galatian church and were preaching “another gospel”, confusing the young believers, and causing many to revert back to the Mosaic system that had become obsolete after Jesus the Messiah came and instituted the New Covenant. Tragically, I see this same problem occurring in many Christian churches today – particularly in Hebraic and Messianic congregations who want to become so Jewish in their worship of God that they go completely overboard and become immersed in the Old Testament Mosaic system. As a result, they end up extremely “Hebraic” in their style and practice of Christianity and they “turn off” most Gentile and Jewish prospects alike. The Christian church should be a melding of people of all races – both Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus the Messiah. Whether you prefer to call Him Jesus, or Yeshua, the bottom line is, Jesus died to save people of all races, languages, and nationalities, and combine them into “one new man”, the universal Body of Christ.

Beware of falling from Grace.

Almost the entire Book of Galatians was written with the intent of exposing the false teachings of the Judaisers and prevent Christians from falling from the Gospel of Grace by reverting back to the Old Testament Mosaic system. The apostle Paul had strong words for the Judaisers and called them “accursed” of God. He also labeled those Galatian Christians who were following the false teachers “foolish”, and declared they had become “bewitched” by the Judaisers. He rebuked them, saying:

“Oh foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth? Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the law of Moses, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish that having begun your [Christian life] in the Spirit [by faith], are you now being made perfect by the flesh [the law of Moses]?” – Galatians 3:1-3.

He also asked that if salvation could be achieved by the keeping of the Old Testament Torah (Law), then what was the purpose of Jesus’ sacrificial death?

Did Jesus die in vain?

The apostle Paul went on to argue that we are NOT justified (cleared of our sin guilt) by keeping the Torah or the Mosaic ordinances, but by faith in Jesus Christ, the anointed Son of God — by the vicarious, atoning sacrifice He made on our behalf. He added:

“that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by keeping the Mosaic law; for by the works of the law no flesh (no one) shall be saved.”

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if salvation and righteous standing before God comes through the Mosaic law, then Jesus Christ died in vain.”

–         Galatians 2:16-21

Salvation by grace through faith – not Torah-keeping.

God’s free gift of salvation comes by way of faith, and faith alone in what Jesus did for us, not what we can do for ourselves through the keeping of the Old Testament laws.

Only by faith, do we receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. And only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we progressively become perfected. The moment we revert back to the keeping of the Mosaic laws for our justification, we are grieving the Holy Spirit, and place ourselves in danger of falling from our foundational position of salvation and justification by grace.

Was Abraham justified by faith? Or, by the keeping of the law?

I ask those of you who want to become so Jewish in your talk and practice of your Christian faith: Do you remember the example of Abraham – the father of the Jewish race? What do the Scriptures say about his justification before God? It calls Abraham “the father of faith”. “Abraham believed God,” and it was accounted to him for righteousness (Galatians 3:6). Therefore, salvation, justification, and righteousness – both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, have always been by faith. The prophet Habakkuk declared (while still under the Old Covenant), “For the just (justified) shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4). The apostle Paul also quoted this same verse in Galatians 3:11.

Come out from among them.

Beloved, I pray that you will heed the voice of the Holy Spirit and come out from among any church or group that is deceiving you –that is preaching “another gospel and another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4). The true Gospel of of Jesus Christ is a gospel of salvation and justification by grace through faith in Christ’s redemptive work for us on the cross. Do not listen to the modern-day Judaisers who claim they have a new or better revelation from God, or who teach that you must revert back to the Mosaic system – touch not, eat not, keep Torah, and so on. Salvation has always been by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and not of works, lest anyone should boast in their own righteousness, and nullify the work of Christ on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-10).

For further study of this subject, we encourage you to order our free booklet, “Christian Are Not Under the Law of Moses” by Luis Josephus. Order additional copies to give to your friends and loved ones who are caught up in the deceptive teachings of Judaizers and legalistic churches.

With your donation of $10.00 or more to our ministry, we’ll send you the gift of this book.

Mail your checks to:

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