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Greater Love

Greater Love

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NASB

The English language is a generic language. For instance, if I say I love my wife and then say I love my car, are the two words for love one in the same? Of course not. However, the Greek language is a very specific language that uses very specific words. The Greek word used for love in John 3:16 is agape. It literally means a sacrificial or giving love. A type of love where you put the needs of the one of whom your love is directed above your own; even if it means you will have to sacrifice or suffer. This is God’s agape love towards us that He gave His only begotten Son.

Although we are greatly undeserving of God’s love He has chosen to give it to us anyway. Why? Because He loves us. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Even while we were living in hostility towards Him in the rebellion of our sin God loved us. How much does He love us? Enough to send His Son, Jesus, to die a cruel torturous death on a cross to pay the price of sin for the whole world, so those who will repent of their sin and believe in Jesus as their Savior shall not perish but have eternal life. God’s heart is to spend eternity with us, because He loves us.

John 15:3 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus laid down His life for His friends, us, because He knew we would be eternally condemned for our sins. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23.) With Jesus sacrifice in mind II Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Whether you have been loved little or loved much within your life you will never find a greater love than the love from which God loves you.  To receive this love you only need to repent from your sins and believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Praying for a Great Awakening in America

My heart is to see revival in our churches leading to a great awakening in our nation. God has stirred in my heart to call on all Christians to pray and fast for 40 days seeking God for revival in our churches and a great awakening in our land. The prayer and fast will begin on February 18th and go through March 29th, Easter Sunday. I am asking Christians to pray for 30 minutes a day during an agreed upon time. My hope is to have intersession being lifted up to the throne of God 24 hours a day for 40 days. During that time I will email those who commit to this challenge a daily prayer guide along with a daily devotion that will coincide with the prayer guide. America is in desperate need of revival and revival will not happen unless we humbly seek the face of God and pray. (II Chronicles 7:14). There is power in numbers. So, will you join us? If you feel God calling you to participate in this email me at reclaimingtheland@ilovejesus.net and write prayer in the subject box. If your heart is for revival share this information with everyone you know.

In the name above all names, Jesus

Rusty Kuhn

For more information about the heart of Reclaiming the Land Ministry visit: www.reclaimingtheland.com

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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Repentance Required

            After the resurrection, Jesus spent forty day’s with His disciples opening their eyes to the scriptures teaching them the reason He came so they could proclaim the gospel to all creation.  Jesus told them that one of the requirements of accepting the gospel message was repentance from sin. Jesus said in Luke 24:46-47, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

What did Jesus mean when He said “repentance for forgiveness of sin?”  When we believe on Jesus we believe on all of who He is, all of what He has done, and all of what He has taught.  Jesus preached repentance of sin and holy living. True faith in Christ requires repentance from sin.

After Peter preached the first gospel message just after he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit the crowd was pierced to the heart and asked Peter, “What shall we do?” They wanted to know how they were to respond to the gospel. Peter said they needed to repent. (Acts 2:38).

Sin hinders our relationship with God. It was our sins that Jesus went to the cross to pay for. When we choose not to repent we are telling God that we are not truly interested in a relationship with Him and that we would rather live our lives our own way through our own strength and wisdom. Make no mistake, people who refuse to repent refuse relationship and fellowship with God. John said in I John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” In other words, if we say we are walking with God yet we are living in open rebellious unrepentant sin, we are liars.  However, I John 1:6 says, “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”  We walk in the light when we have repented of our sin and received the cleansing power of the blood of Christ that paid for our sin.

Paul went so far as to tell us not to associate with any “so-called” believer who is unrepentant and living in sin.  He said not to even eat with such a one. (I Corinthians 5:11). Associating with an unrepentant individual only gives them a false since of salvation.  If there is no repentance, there is no salvation.

In the next chapter, he gives a non-comprehensive list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God.  In I Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul said, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” Does this mean that anyone who has ever been drunk or stolen anything will not be saved? Of course not.  Paul is declaring their identity. This is who they are and how they live. This is the identifying mark of their lives. They are identified as a drunkard or a thief or whatever the life of sin is that they have not repented of.      Paul went on to say in the next verse, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Such were some of you, but not anymore, for they had repented and were washed with the blood of Christ. The Christians identity is found in Christ-not sin.

Does this mean that those who slip into sin from time to time are not saved? Galatians 2:11 tells us that Paul opposed Peter to his face because he stood condemned. Peter was being a hypocrite acting one way in front of the gentiles and another way in front of the Jews. Was he condemned to hell for his hypocrisy? Of course not.  Peter was very much a saved man that loved Jesus with his whole heart. He was eventually martyred for his faith. He however, slipped into sin and needed someone like Paul to help set him straight. Those who are indentified with sin due to their lack of repentance are not saved. Christians can and will slip into sin from time to time. However, since they have a relationship with God, they will be convicted of their sin and repent. An unsaved person will live in sin with absolutely no conviction or remorse and be perfectly happy it.

When we share our faith with sinners, we must preach repentance.  A gospel proclaimed without repentance is no gospel at all. We are setting the hearer up for failure if we do not proclaim the need to repent. Not preaching repentance is as foolish as a patient going to see a doctor for a chronic cough. The doctor not wanting to pry into the patient’s personal life by telling him he needs to stop smoking simply gives him cough syrup instead. Smoking is clearly the root of his problem, just as sin is the root of our separation from God.

When preaching repentance we must do so with the love and compassion of Christ.  While preaching repentance we must have a heart of love desiring the sinner to turn from his sin and trust in Jesus. God will not bless the efforts of the self righteous who simply want to condemn the sinner for his sin. We must get the log out of our eye before we can get the spec out of others. Remember, such were some of us. We once were sinners in need of salvation. Who are we to condemn others for their sins? We repented and received grace. This too should be our heart. It most certainly is Gods.  For this reason out of an act of love and compassion knowing the destructive power of sin, we preach repentance.

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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Walking in the Newness of Life

Prior to being born again our lives were carnally minded. Our hearts, minds, dreams, goals, desires, wants, and what we thought were needs were all fleshly and carnally focused. Ephesians 2.3 says, “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” When one indulges in the desires of the flesh and mind they walk in the flesh and are greatly displeasing to God. Romans 5:8 tells us, “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

However, when we become born again we die to the flesh and come alive through the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit teaches us the ways of God and rebukes us when we walk in the ways of the flesh. Apart from the Spirit of God teaching and guiding us we cannot live for the Lord. Yet, when we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord the Holy Spirit comes to live in us giving us new life. Christ is in us and we are in Him. We are alive.

The carnal man cannot live for the Lord, nor will he want to. However, the spiritual man who possesses the Holy Spirit can live for the Lord, far the Lord is with him, leading and guiding him. Romans 6:4 says, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” When we became born again we were buried with Christ in the likeness of His death, not physically but spiritually. Just as we were buried with Christ we were, past tense, raised from the dead. Again this is a spiritual act, not a physical one.

The bible clearly teaches that those who are in Christ will one day be given a resurrected body. However, the bible also clearly teaches that the moment you accept Christ as Savior and Lord you die to self and come alive to God. Prior to being born again you were dead in your transgressions and sins. Once you became born again you are alive to Him and dead to sin.

A Christian is dead to sin. Therefore, he cannot live in it. “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2.) Living in sin means that sin is your lifestyle; it defines who you are. Living in Christ is also a lifestyle that defines who you are therefore the bible tells us to walk in the newness of life. One cannot live in sin and Christ. It is a spiritual, physical, and philosophical impossibility.

Living for Jesus is a choice. God can but won’t force us to live for Him. Jesus called the rich young ruler to follow Him and the rich young rule said no. If he said no to Jesus, we too can say no. Yet, when we make the choice to live for Jesus we are not alone. We have been empowered by the blood and led by the Spirit. Wow! What a powerful combination. Therefore, we choose to walk in faith.

I have had people over the years tell me that they cannot repent of their sins because their sins have too much power over their lives. That is a lie straight out of Satan’s mouth that directly contradicts the Word of God. I John 4:4 says, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” As a former drug addict trust me when I say that I know the power of sin. As a delivered drug addict I also know the power of God. God’s power is much greater. Again, we have a choice. It is a choice of who to believe. I chose to believe God.

If I chose to believe God I will then walk in the newness of life, repenting from my fleshly life, staying focused on things above rather than the things below, focused on life rather than death, and focused on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of my faith. Will I do this perfectly? No. Neither will you nor anyone else. However, we should do this consistently as it is the identifying mark of being a Christian.

Not if, but, when I lose focus I will repent and ask Jesus to forgive me. I then will ask Him in faith to deliver me from whatever areas I have failed Him in and continue to walk in the newness of life. This process will be repeated many times in a Christian’s life. God isn’t interested in the amount of times you have slipped. He is longing for you to get back up and pursue Him again. Being a Christian doesn’t make you perfect. But, you should be consistent. Jesus death, burial, and resurrection purchased for you a new life. Therefore, we should walk in it.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Life is in the Blood

As we look into the Word of God we see how brutal and bloody Jesus death was. People often ask, “Was this bloody brutality truly necessary?” I think that in part God was showing us how ugly sin truly is. However, everything Jesus did in His life, death, and resurrection had meaning. Everything was preplanned and very intentional.

Whereas death is the wage of sin, life is the required payment for sin. Leviticus 17:11 tells us that life is in the blood. For this reason in the Old Testament sacrificial system God required the life’s blood of animals to be offered as a sacrifice for sin. Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.”

While Israel was still enslaved to Egypt God sent Moses to Pharaoh to demand he let God’s people go. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he refused. God sent nine devastating plagues on the nation of Egypt and Pharaoh still refused to let God’s people go. The tenth plague would however change Pharaoh’s mind. This plague would bring about the death of every first born male child in all the land. God told Moses to tell His people that they would be spared from this plague of death if they would sacrifice a lamb and place its blood on the doorpost of their homes. When the angel of death came, it passed over every home covered with the blood.

Sacrifice didn’t start in Egypt. It started when God Himself sacrificed an animal to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve after they had sinned. The life’s blood was taken from this creature not only to cover their nakedness, but also their sin. The giving of life’s blood was clearly the requirement of God from the very beginning of creation and passed down from generation to generation. Eventually it was commanded by God in the Law of Moses for Israel to abide by.

God knew that He would have to give His Son as a sacrifice for sin before He ever created Adam and before He ever laid down the foundations of the earth. Revelation 13:8 says, “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.” This verse does not mean that God predetermined whose name would be written down in the book of life and whose name would not be, as some would suggest. For God to create people He had no intention of saving would make Him an unjust God. This verse tells us that God foreknew whose name would be written in the book of life. II Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

The bloodiness of the cross was necessary for the salvation of mankind. Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no redemption of sins.” One of the cruelties of the cross was that those who were crucified died a slow agenizing and humiliating death as their life’s blood slowly drained from their bodies. They were literally bled out.

The blood sacrifices of the Old Testament were temporary and insufficient. For this reason the process needed to be continually repeated. I peter 3:18 says, “Christ also died for sins once for all,” and Romans 6:10 says, “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all.” Jesus sacrifice was sufficient putting an end to all sacrifice. The Old Testament sacrifice only covered the sin causing God to pass over the sin while the blood of Jesus washes away the sin. I John 1:7 says, “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” The blood of Jesus sets us free and releases us from our sins. Revelation 1:5 says, “To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood.” Having been cleansed by the blood we are also sanctified, made holy, by the blood, “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood.” (Hebrews 13:12).

Just before Jesus breathed His last He said, “It is finished,” letting us know that all of the work for the redemption of sins was completed. Nothing else needed to be done. Christ work on the cross and the shedding of His blood is sufficient for salvation opening the door for whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. When Jesus breathed His last the word of God tells us that the veil that separated the outside world from the holy of holies, where the very presence of God dwelt, inside of the Temple, was ripped from top to bottom. Because of the blood we can now enter the presence of God. Hebrews 10:19-22 says, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

The cleansing power of the blood of Christ is available to anyone that will turn to Him and believe on Him. But how will all know, unless we tell them?

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Posted by on November 5, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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The Wages of Sin is Death

Romans 6:23 tells us that, “the wages of sin is death.” For this reason Jesus died to pay the price for sin. Not that He sinned, but that He took upon Himself, the sin of all humanity, and died for all who would accept Him as their atoning sacrifice and therefore be cleansed of their sin. I Corinthians 5:21 says, “He (God) made Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

In Genesis we see God fellowshipping with His new creation Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God told them of every tree in the garden they can eat freely. The only exception was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said if they eat of that tree they shall surly die. (Genesis 2:16). They ate of the forbidden tree, therefore, they sinned, and they died.

Although Adam and Eve tried to pass the blame of their sin to another, they were still held accountable for their actions resulting in the fall of all humanity. They could not blame the serpent for their sin. They made a conscious choice to disobey God. Although they knew the command of God and the consequences of their disobedience they personally chose to disobey God, thus they sinned.

Did Adam and Eve die that day just as God said they would? Yes. They died spiritually. They lost fellowship with God and were removed from the Garden of Eden and cast into a mean cruel world now corrupted by sin to labor by the sweat of their brow until the day they physically died. Sin has grave consequences. Had Adam and Eve not chosen to sin they would still be alive today. They would not have earned the wages of sin and we would not live in a cure, hard, fallen world today.

The bible speaks of three types of death, spiritual death, physical death, and the second death which is eternal death. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,” and again in Colossians 2:13, “you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh.” Paul wasn’t talking to people who were physically dead, they were spiritually dead.

Sin separates us from God. God’s heart is to have a relationship with us. However, sin prevents us from having a relationship with Him. Separation from God is spiritual death. For this reason Jesus died for us so our sins can be forgiven and we would no longer be spiritual dead but alive in Christ and through Christ. Romans 6:23 not only tells us that the wages of sin is death but also says that the free gift of God is eternal life. Accepting the sacrificial atonement of Christ cleanses us from our sins and reconciles us into a right relationship with God.

The bible is clear-all have sinned. Isaiah 53:6, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way;” Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God;” I John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us;” I John 1:10, If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him (God) a liar and His word is not in us.”

Since all have sinned, all stand in need of salvation through the sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross. Because of the sacrifice Jesus paid the bible says in I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As we see clearly that all have sinned we see just as clearly that the offer of salvation is for all. Romans 10:13 says, “For “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

Unless we are caught up in the rapture we will all die physically. However, we are not physical beings, we are spiritual. For those who have accepted Jesus atoning sacrifice and received salvation from their sins the bible says, “I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” There they will remain with the Lord spiritually until the resurrection of the dead where they will be given resurrected and glorified bodies, the same type of body that Jesus already has.

Those who refuse to accept Christ’s atoning work of salvation from their sins will then stand before God after their physical death and be judged for their sins. At the time of their judgment they will be cast into the eternal lake of fire where there is no longer any hope of redemption. The bible calls this the second death. (Revelation 20:11-15).

For this reason the church and every individual Christian should take with absolute urgency the mandate to preach the gospel to all creation. How else will they know? If they choose to reject, they have made their choice. However, they have made the choice with the knowledge of the command of God to accept His Son, and the consequences of choosing not to.

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Posted by on November 4, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Follow Me

             Repentance means to turn away from something. It is making a u-turn, going the opposite direction from where you were going. Repenting from sin is turning away from the sin. Biblical repentance not only requires us to turn from sin, it calls us to turn to Jesus. Repeatedly throughout the gospels Jesus says, “Follow Me.”

Biblical faith in Jesus isn’t just believing facts about Jesus it is also following Him. James 2:19 says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” Although Satan probably won’t admit it, he believes in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He was there. He saw it. Too many people today have a Christmas and Easter type of faith. They believe the facts of Christ but have never committed their lives to following Him. I am a huge Mustang fan. For this reason I know all kinds of facts about men who influenced Mustangs like, Lee Iacocca, Carroll Shelby, and Steve Saleen. Yet, I have never met any of them. I have never had a personal relationship with them. I do however know Jesus, because I have committed myself to following Him.

Romans 10:9 tells us, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Clearly we need to believe the facts about Jesus. God did raise Him from the dead and that should be our foundation of faith. However, that alone isn’t good enough. Along with our foundation of faith we are to confess Jesus as Lord. This is our statement of faith. If Jesus is Lord over our lives we follow Him every day in every way.

In the tenth chapter of Mark we find one who obviously had great respect for Jesus. He came to Jesus knelt before Him and called Him “good teacher.”  He inquired of Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him that he needed to keep the law. The young man quickly responded to Jesus that he has kept the law since his youth. Jesus then told him to go sell everything you own, give it to the poor, and follow me. Jesus was showing him that he hasn’t really kept the law. Although he had respect for Jesus, he was unwilling to obey Jesus and unwilling to follow Him. Many people in our world today have great respect for Jesus, yet they too are unwilling to obey Him and follow Him.

Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” Notice that He said “you must.” The requirement for following Jesus is denying yourself and taking up your cross. We need to remember that the cross was an instrument of death. It was the form of execution for the day. In other words Jesus is saying if we are going to follow Him we must die to self and follow Him. We need to have more than just respect for Jesus. We must have total surrender; a surrender that leads to denying ourselves and obedient service of Him. Jesus said we must.

While sharing the gospel with the lost we must make it abundantly clear that if they chose to accept Christ as their savior and Lord they are entering into a lifetime commitment. We need to make it clear that this walk should impact and influence every area of their lives. We have way too many Sunday-go-to-meetin Christians in our society who don’t mind going to church on Sunday morning but won’t allow Jesus to impact their daily lives.

We need to clearly communicate the fact that entering into a relationship with Jesus is a onetime decision. Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” At the same time we need to clearly communicate the fact that following Jesus is a commitment that is renewed daily. Paul also said in I Corinthians 15:31, “I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”

take up cross

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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