One of the reasons I love the First Epistle of John, is because of the opening verses of the Epistle. Look at them with me. They are so powerful in the way the apostle asserts the truth of Jesus Christ. Notice the way John repeats himself to powerfully argue the empirical nature of the evidence. What John has to say is not hearsay; it is not some philosophical treatise or mere speculation based upon some vague vision or hysterical reports of the woman who came running to them from the tomb.
THE FATE OF THE FRUITLESS By Mark E. Hardgrove, PhD Text: Mark 11, Read vv. 1-11, NKJV 1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; 2 and He said to them, “Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you...
MORE ABOUT JESUS By Mark E. Hardgrove, PhD Mark 6-10, Read 8:27-33, NKJV 27 Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” 28 So they answered, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and...
What do you have faith for? Do you have faith for God to heal a headache? Do you have faith for God to supply the funds you need to pay a bill? Do you have faith for God to provide employment? We talk about having faith and we say we believe, but there will be times when our faith is tested, and this is part of the process by which God works in us to “purify” our faith (1 Pt. 1:6-9), to take us from shallow faith concerned only about our own wants in the moment, to larger concerns that comprehend the implications of eternity in all that we do, or think, or believe. It is through this process that we become mature believers who endure to the end, who remain faithful when the pressure is on, and who learn patience when everything in us is crying for Jesus to do it now (Ja. 1:3).
When we look at the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew, we find that it goes back to Abraham, who is the ancestral father of the Jewish race. However, Luke goes all the way back to Adam, the origin of the human race. Luke ends his genealogy in chapter 3 verse 38 with the words, “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” Luke understood that the story of Jesus begins with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Sin created the need for the ultimate sacrifice, and only God can be the perfect sacrifice ... but God can't die. So God became flesh, fully man and yet fully God and Jesus died "once for all."
General revelation notwithstanding, fallen humanity cannot ascend into the heavens and unveil a holy God. The scientists cannot prove God in a test-tube or expose Him through a powerful telescope. The philosophers cannot reveal God through their “philosophizing.” The poets cannot reveal God through their rhymes, nor the writers through their rhetoric. The finite mind of humanity cannot pull back the veil and reveal God. Only God can reveal God, so “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” “The only begotten God, the One being in the bosom of the Father, that One declared Him.” When I could not go to where He was, He came to me and said, “Here I am!”
Jesus became flesh, because until He did the prophesies were unfulfilled, the promises were waiting, the symbols had no meaning, the type had no antitype, and the story had no happy ending. Imagine Cinderella without the Prince showing up to save her from her tormentors, or Sleeping Beauty never to rise again to the kiss of her Prince Charming. Imagine, the novel “To Kill A Mockingbird,” with no Atticus Finch, or Paul Harvey without “the rest of the story.” Without Jesus, there is a gaping hole in the plot of the Old Testament and main character never shows up.
Living the overcomer’s life is not about living a miserable life now and hoping to have a good life someday. It’s about living a victorious life, a triumphant life, an abundant life now, even if it means denying ourselves as we take up our cross daily to follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). Even if it means we stand against the current of a perverse media-driven culture and refuse to go-along to get-along. We do it gladly, give cheerfully, and live joyfully because we know that the “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18).
It’s not about becoming overcomers, but about living as overcomers, because when we gave our heart to Jesus, we became an overcomer. We overcame the chains of sin. We overcame guilt and condemnation. We overcame death, hell, and the grave. We overcame, because when we put our faith in God’s grace, we tied our destiny to Jesus and our victory is guaranteed through His victory.
Have you ever been promised something, but then the person who promised it was either unable to fulfill the promise, or simply refused to keep their promise? Broken promises often result in broken hearts, broken homes, and broken dreams, leaving people cynical and bitter. But when it comes to God, the Bible tells us in Numbers 23:19, that
God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
There are many and precious promises to the believer in the Bible, and we can be sure that if God said it, He will do it. However, of all the promises in the Bible, I don’t think there are any more powerful or profound than those found in the book of Revelation; especially the powerful promises to the overcomers.