When Achan stole and hid gold, silver, and fine clothing from God, the Lord withdrew from Israel, and thirty-six people died in battle. The Lord exposed Achan’s sin to all Israel, who stoned and burned Achan and his family. Just as the fire of judgment consumed Achan, the fires of hell will consume us if we do not allow the Holy Spirit to probe us and uncover the worst parts of our hearts. And just as Achan’s brothers died because of his sin, our fellow men are dying in sin while the Church at-large remains powerless because she refuses the work of the Holy Spirit to bring her to repentance, and brays, “We’re all sinners!” Are you still a sinner? Or do you fear sinning? Will you spread your sin before the Lord now in deep repentance and a holy fear of God, that you and those around you might be saved; or will you wait until the Day of Judgment, and be damned?
The parable of the prodigal son shows two responses to the gospel. In the first, the lost son comes to his senses and cries, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son!” In the second, the elder son holds onto a hard, angry heart and refuses to go in to his brother, in spite of his father’s pleading. It is easy and dangerous to think that we are responding as the prodigal son when in fact we are responding as the elder brother. Have you returned to Jesus everything that you’ve stolen, and fully consecrated yourself to him? Or, do you still reserve the “right” to deny your heavenly Father’s pleading?
Focusing on the parable of the prodigal son, this continuation in the study of Charles Finney’s book God’s Call sets in terrifying relief the true condition of sinners as thieves and liars towards God. Like the prodigal, we must come to our senses and see that we’ve lived in a pretend world that says, “I own my life. I can choose what I do. I decide whether, and how much, I will give to God and obey him.” In reality, everything belongs to Jesus, and anyone who walks otherwise is a thief and a liar. The gospel allows no compromise on this point–we will not enter heaven unless we are saved from all sin now!
A deep consideration of how you have stolen yourself from God will produce great pain. We must see this before we can truly offer a full confession to God and make restitution to people whom we’ve injured. When you see that everything that you own, and are, belongs to God; and that you’ve stolen it all, and lied about it; you can then disown your life and return what you’ve stolen to Jesus Christ. These are God’s indispensable conditions for forgiveness and salvation from sin. Is this your present position before God?
When Jesus healed the paralytic and said, “Rise up, and walk!” he was literally saying, “Awaken!” This call to come to consciousness, which is revival, is on all of God’s people. It is your responsibility and duty to put off deceptions, lay down the weapons of the devil, and fully consecrate yourself to Jesus Christ. Will you admit that the lack of revival is due to your own hardness of heart? Will you go on dozing in the land of Nod, or will you cry out to God?
Welcome message by Sister Michelle
In the American church and most of the western world, comfortable theologies of the sinning Christian have obscured the truth about God’s law and his atonement. A powerful illustration by Charles Finney, drawn from Ecclesiastes 8:11, demonstrates the intention of God to persuade sinners to give up their spirit of rebellion, and the great guilt of sinners who refuse obedience and abuse God’s mercy. Does the crucifixion of the Son of God melt your heart and fill you with intense desire to never sin again? Or, do your actions and heart say, “Jesus doesn’t have the power to save me from sinning. I can’t stop, and God loves me so much that even though I continue to abuse and insult him, he won’t send me to hell?”
In this vulnerable testimony, Pastor Ray shares his experience of entire sanctification. Entire sanctification is not some mystical experience: it is simply a covenant confirmed with Jesus that, “I disown my life, and I will receive from Jesus only what he chooses to give me.” As we deny ourselves the right to provide for ourselves, the Holy Spirit leads us down a path of suffering that eradicates selfishness and produces real righteousness. Have you made this covenant with Jesus? Are you living by faith that, if you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, everything will be added to you? Or is your life still filled with what you’ve created?
Are you in union with Jesus? Rees Howells’ testimony illustrates the need to abandon selfishness, which is sin, in order to enter and stay in union with Jesus. The gospel is designed to eradicate selfish motives and draw one’s heart into pure benevolence. On the nature of this change, Charles Finney writes, “If you love God, you cannot reflect that you have wounded his feelings, without pain. You would not complain that you could not repent: The truth is, that if you were in the exercise of love for God, you could not help repenting[…]” Christian, is this your experience?
How can you tell whether a doctrine is true? By looking at Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and his words at the Last Supper, we conclude that there is one infallible test: does the salvation being taught save you from sin here and now? The American cultural beliefs that “Nobody’s perfect; everybody sins,” and, “We all go to a better place when we die,” are mere universalism. Real salvation expels selfishness and lust for the world and generates love for God and mankind. Listen as Pastor Ray shares these truths from the Scriptures and finishes by sharing one listener’s testimony of how Jesus changed and healed both her physical and spiritual heart! Humbly submit to Jesus and allow Him to pour His love through you, to God and to others!
(NOTE: Due to a fire at the radio station, the radio went off air for just over a minute, which we removed before posting.)
Dear one, Jesus has been incredibly kind and wants a new beginning of Obedience to Jesus. Isaiah 43:19 says “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.“Trust Jesus to do a might work in your heart in 2017! Remember it’s not a self-help project.
Welcome message by Sister Kathryn
Pastor Ray opens up this study of the atonement with the character of God revealed in John 3:16. Understanding that God did not come down to demonstrate his fury against Jesus, but that God loved and God gave, helps us understand the two-fold work of Jesus through the type of the two goats in Leviticus 16. At Calvary, Jesus made full provision for the forgiveness and removal of sin for all mankind. The second half of Jesus’ work is the sin-removing application of His blood to individuals who will die with Christ and be born again!
Jesus said, “Do not begin to think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I came not to abolish but to fulfill.” Weaving in Charles Finney’s allegory about parents pleading for the pardon of their condemned son, Pastor Ray shows that the new covenant does not abolish the requirements of the moral law. In the new covenant, God writes his law in our hearts so that we become righteous now. Has the law, by faith in Christ, been totally fulfilled in your heart? Are you, like the parents, pleading with God for the guilty–or, like the son, will you come to the date of your execution in rebellion and proud disdain, protesting your innocence?
(Note: There is no video for today’s broadcast.)
A person who looks into Jesus’ face, and sees the hardness and arrogance of his own heart, will respond with strong feelings and pained weeping. Once this sin is exposed, it cannot be covered; it must be removed by Jesus. Looking into theology, being distracted, or believing that when God looks at you he sees Jesus, will comfort the heart in its sin so that it doesn’t have to go through the pain of considering its real condition and what it means to be obedient to Jesus. Do you weep over sin–either your own, or the sin of others? Did you once have warm feelings that have now grown cold? Or have you never experienced this? If you’re not walking right with Jesus, will you let today be a new beginning of obedience to God?
The Spirit of God confronts us with the holiness of God and our own, particular sins. If we persistently reject the Spirit of God with excuses, grumbling, or rebellion; or by insisting, “I sin every day, and God is just going to have to accept me how I am,” the Holy Spirit will leave us. Such persons may be left with a shell of religion, but they are lost. This earth exists because God has preordained a church that will be made holy by faith–the question is, will you be part of it?
When Christian, of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, learned how to be saved, he immediately ran towards the narrow gate shouting, “Life! Life! Eternal Life!” Are you doing this? Have you ever? Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Will the decisions that you make today save, or unsave, your soul?
Welcome message by Sister Michelle
What does growing up in Jesus look like? It begins with submission to Jesus and self-sacrifice. Then, instead of doubting whether we’ve been born again and beating ourselves up over our failures, we determine to take our honest failures to Jesus in the prayer closet, renounce that way of walking, and claim the victory in Jesus. As we train ourselves to distinguish between good and evil, Jesus steps in to assist, vindicate, and defend us from every evil! Beloved, doesn’t having such a precious high priest fill your heart with love and yearning to live holy for Jesus?
What is the law of the Spirit of life? Simply, when a seed is planted, it dies and becomes a whole plant with much fruit and many seeds. To walk in the law of the Spirit of life, we must plant the seed of the spirit by forsaking all other loves and ownership of our lives; then, we will grow up out of the soil as a new man in Jesus with victory over sin. “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:5). At Christ’s Second Coming, those who were born of the Spirit will receive a new, spiritual body; but those who walked in the flesh will receive an indestructible spirit given over to eternal damnation. Are you walking in the law of the Spirit of life, or the law of sin and death?
The Lord has said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” But Jesus died so that our soul does not have to die! So how are we to die with Christ? We are to die first to our sinful actions, and second to our sinful nature. The sin nature is not part of our soul—it is a foreigner that affixes itself to our soul and controls it. Genesis 3:15 promises that this control is not total. You can repent! Glory to God! Listen to this powerful message to learn how to die to sin TODAY and walk in the freedom of Jesus!
Why did Lot’s wife look back? Jesus explains that she longed to preserve her life: to have all of her expensive stuff and friendships and still escape the fire of judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. Are you, like Lot’s wife, trying to get to heaven without any self-denial? Or are you sold out for Jesus?
The battle for your soul needs to be settled so that you can pull sinners out of the fire. This three-stage process is depicted in the exodus of the children of Israel, their time in the desert, and their entry into the promised land. The first stage is an external battle with sin. When we leave Egypt and go to the desert, the battle turns inward. Many Christians die in the desert. To win–which is sanctification–we must submit to the Holy Spirit and His efforts to build a tabernacle for Jesus in our heart. Sanctification is not the work of a lifetime. After we determine that nothing will turn us from Jesus, and His blood wipes out lust and pride, we move into an external battle as we cooperate with God for the salvation of the lost. Has this inner battle for your own soul been won? Are you ready to go up and take the promised land?
Guy Bevington, an old-time American holiness evangelist in the 1900s, took God at his word when he promised to give us a Savior from sin, not in sin. In this encore Christmas Eve offertory, Pastor Ray weaves together the story of the birth of Christ with Bevington’s importunity in prayer that moved God to save Tom and Liz, an alcoholic couple, and transform them into new, holy people in Christ! Will you take Jesus at his word and receive this amazing gift this Christmas? Or, if you have already received this gift, will you simply allow Jesus to make you into an intercessor like Brother Bevington? There is victory dear one in Jesus!
Special Note: We have been asking Jesus to cover the cost of December radio because of some unusual circumstances with the holidays that made it look pretty tight. Today, we aired this encore broadcast without realizing that it was an offertory. Though this was a great embarrassment to us, one brother called the radio station to let them know that people might be calling in. $1,450 was donated!! Along with other donations that came in this week, this exactly covers the cost for radio. Thank you, Jesus! This is his Christmas gift to us! Be blessed, beloved!
Many have stumbled in their pursuit of holiness over 1 John 1:8. A close reading of this verse as one in a series of couplets shows that John expects his readers to leave behind their lives in Egypt–the world–and live without sin in this life. As Adam Clarke wrote, “So he that says the blood of Christ either cannot or will not cleanse us from all sin in this life, gives also the lie to his Maker, who has declared the contrary…” God will not walk with us if we walk like Egyptians. But, God will bring us into the desert, like he did with Moses, to cleanse us from all our Egyptian ways. Will you go all the way through the desert with Jesus, and let him give you a heart to weep for others and for revival?
What will you give Jesus this Christmas? The wise men who visited Jesus in Bethlehem brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These three gifts symbolize what we can give to Jesus today: the piercings that make us holy; the bitterness of our past failures; and a sweet-smelling smoke of joy, intercession, and ministering to Jesus. Each of these gifts will give God a handle on us to mold our character into the likeness of Jesus and open up the way for God to intervene on the earth and bring his kingdom in revival power!
Charles Finney described his conversion as, “I felt myself justified by faith…I was in a state in which I did not sin. Instead of feeling that I was sinning all the time, my heart was so full of love that it overflowed…I could not feel that I was sinning against God. Nor could I recover the least sense of guilt for my past sins.” Does this describe the condition of your soul? Like Finney, each of us must enter this state by faith: not an intellectual decision, but a voluntary trust in specific promises of God. Will you, this Christmas, receive God’s gift to us in Christ, and allow the Holy Spirit to take possession of your soul?
(Note: The first part of the video had audio problems and has been deleted.)
The virgin birth and the pre-existence of Jesus Christ are two key elements in understanding that Jesus is the atonement, the verdict against mankind, and the gospel. We’re not saved by punishment that Jesus endured; we are saved by Jesus himself. Do you respond to this like the wise men who put their faces on the ground before the newborn Jesus? Or, like the ruling Jews of the time, do you see Jesus as a threat to you keeping authority over your own life? Will you be wise??