Recently, a woman asked me if God talked to me. I always am hesitant to answer that question because of all the quacks and flakes of whom we hear about. But this raises a very important question: Does God speak to people today??
Absolutely! God does speak to people today. Followers of Jesus say that they have a “personal relationship with the Lord.” What does a relationship imply? That there is communication! God desires to speak to His people, but oftentimes we are not listening, or we are listening for only what we want to hear. Jesus said that His sheep would hear His voice (John 10:3,4,16).
For the follower of Jesus, the Lord may speak in a variety of ways. He will use the Bible (His Word) to speak about general things and also specific things we need to know. He will use your pastor, or Christian teacher, or church leader to speak to you. He will oftentimes use your spouse to speak to you. He can use Christian books, situations and events in your life, music, podcasts, and other input we receive from outside of our ourselves. He will also use the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12,13) to speak a Word to you and me.
An important and vital point to remember is that the Lord will NEVER speak a word to you or me which contradicts His Word given to us in Scripture. The Bible is our grid to filter all possible communication from God. Most of what He wants us to know is in the Bible anyway, but we can be quickly misled if we don’t know the Bible.
Lastly, it is important to point out that without the Holy Spirit, a person is trying to listen to the Lord without all the equipment. It is like trying to hear a FM radio station on an AM dial or to pick up Satellite TV on your cable system. It simply doesn’t work. Without the Holy Spirit a person does not have the God-given capacity to hear Him. Fortunately, God desires us to have the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).
So does God desire to speak to you and me? Absolutely! He said to the prophet Jeremiah (and this is for us as well): “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3).
Introduction from “Jesus the Divider”: While Jesus does bring us “Peace”, Jesus tells us that His ways are not always our ways; and Jesus does not always bring us “Peace”. In the world, we have tribulation; but Jesus has overcome the world. In Jesus, we do have “Peace”; but when we do stand with and for Jesus, “division” and conflict are created. In this passage from Luke 12, Jesus wants His followers to know that following Him will have a cost in terms of conflict and worldly tribulation. Many in and of the world will not tolerate our communication of the Gospel. Jesus is not saying that “division” is good. Rather, Jesus, in John 17:22-23, expresses His desire, to the Father, for His followers to all be at one with Him and the Father. However, Jesus is warning us that “division” is inevitable because we are human and sinners.
Jesus ends His message to those assembled, in Luke 12:54-56, with: “He also said to the crowds, ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?’". In this passage, Jesus was pointing toward His purpose on earth and the cross; but no one understood His message at the time period of His teaching in Luke – they could not read God’s signs. Do we see and follow God’s signs, or do we miss them and become party to creating “divisions”?
Today’s Message -- Jesus the Narrow Door: In our Gospel focus from Luke 13:22-30, Jesus was pointing His earthly ministry toward Jerusalem, the Cross, Resurrection, and His Ascension. Jesus was asked, in Luke 13:23-25, a pivotal question; and He responded: “And someone said to him, ‘Lord, will those who are saved be few?’ And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’”". It’s not that Jesus doesn’t want all to be saved, it’s just that the “gate”, to our Salvation, is “narrow” and difficult to enter. As Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:3-4, that Jesus wants all people to be saved: “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.". However, all people will not be saved because some will not come to Jesus – they don’t want to be saved.
In Luke 13:26-30, those rejected by the master of the house argue for admission: “” Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you; I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”".
Jesus is the “narrow door” and the “gate” by which we enter the Kingdom of God and our Salvation. Jesus Himself tells us in John 10:9-10: “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”. We have been given the job, by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20, to help others find the “narrow door”.
As believers in the Gospel and followers of Jesus, we are invited, in Revelation 19:9-10, to the “Marriage Super of the Lamb”: ““And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.’ Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.’ For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”". Is your focus on Jesus, the ”Narrow Door”, that is the only way to the Kingdom of God and your Eternal Life?
TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: I affirm that because of what God has done for me in His Son, Jesus, I AM A CHILD OF GOD. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. (John 1:12f).
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE (ESV): Luke 12:49-56; John 16:36; John 17:22-23; John 14:27; Luke 13:22-30; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Matthew 7:13-14; Hebrews 11:1-40; John 10:9-10; Matthew 28:18-20; Revelation 19:9-10; Psalms 33a:1-11.
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