Peter listened to John the Baptist and Jesus preach, and was likely baptized. While other disciples, including Peter’s brother Andrew, cleaved to Jesus, Peter continued to pursue money and self-provision by fishing. It didn’t dawn on him that Jesus was God living as man. Finally, Jesus gave Peter exactly what he wanted: an enormous draught of fish. Peter, heart uncovered, melted before Jesus and fell at Christ’s knees, crying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man!” We, too, must come to this point of seeing our selfishness, rebellion, and conceit in light of a holy God. When a person recognizes, “I don’t deserve you, Jesus!” his response is always the same: “Follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men.” He will not let us hide in our Christian closet! Have you accepted this call of Jesus?
One sabbath day, Jesus healed a woman in the synagogue who’d been “completely” bowed over for 18 years. This same Greek word, pantelēs, is used in Hebrews 7:25: “[Jesus] is able to save completely those who draw near to God through him.” Just as truly as sinners are completely bound by sin, they can be completely freed by Jesus Christ. This transformation is an inner working of the Holy Spirit who writes the law of God into a person’s heart. The saved Christian is a new creature who loves to do the will of God. Repentance is the only road into this heart of Jesus. Do you have to force yourself to obey God, or is obedience the natural desire of your heart?
Pantelēs can also be translated as “uttermost,” and we leave you with this: a hymn written by William James Kirkpatrick entitled “Saved to the Uttermost“:
Saved to the uttermost: I am the Lord’s;
Jesus my Savior salvation affords;
Gives me His Spirit, a witness within,
Whispering of pardon, and saving from sin.
Saved to the uttermost: Jesus is near;
Keeping me safely, He casteth out fear;
Trusting His promises, now I am blest;
Leaning upon Him, how sweet is my rest.
Saved to the uttermost: this I can say,
“Once all was darkness, but now it is day;
Beautiful visions of glory I see,
Jesus in brightness revealed unto me.”
Saved to the uttermost; cheerfully sing
Loud hallelujahs to Jesus my King;
Ransomed and pardoned, redeemed by His blood,
Cleansed from unrighteousness; glory to God!
CHORUS (after each verse):
Saved, saved, saved to the uttermost;
Saved, saved by power divine;
Saved, saved, saved to the uttermost:
Jesus the Savior is mine!
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave” (Song of Solomon 8:6). This is how Jesus wants us to feel about him. The Christian faith isn’t about “doing it right” or “believing the right way”–it’s about being transformed into a new creature by the blood of Jesus Christ. The normal Christian life is oneness with Jesus: a soul freed from all rebellion and sin, and filled with hunger and love for Jesus. We may follow Jesus while trapped in the cycle of “sin and repent,” but we will not be one with Jesus. Do your actions and words show that your love for Jesus is as unyielding as the grave?
In preparation for tomorrow’s broadcast, Pastor Ray suggests reading the book of Malachi, Hebrews 10, and Romans 6.
Human beings were designed to give everything for the sake of what they love the most. In heroic displays of faithfulness, ancient Chinese concubines would be buried alive with their deceased emperors; the first apostles were crucified, beaten to death, or slain by sword; and, today, millions of Americans sacrifice everything for lifestyle, professional sports, shopping, television, their children, or self-indulgence.
If you intend to go to heaven, Jesus Christ must be the object of this intense, undivided love of your heart. In your daily experience, are you urgently pressing, by the power of the Holy Spirit, into intimacy with Jesus? Do you clearly see the separation between wickedness and righteousness, and, out of love for Jesus, cut off anything that would separate you from him? Do you weep over the souls of your families, neighbors, and friends? On what altar have you sacrificed everything? Like the children of Israel, have you seen God’s mighty deliverance in your life, and feasted, only to rise up and play?
The writing on the wall at Belshazzar’s banquet teaches us what it means to deny ourselves and enter the narrow gate. The first word, mene, signifies the sinner’s condition: though he thought he could dethrone God and be in charge of his own life, God will finally put an end to this stolen sovereignty. Tekel signifies the reckoning at the final judgment of the areas of our life that we shaved off and gave to the enemy, darkness, or casualness. Parsin represents hell.
Because we’ve all shaved off and stolen from God, the only way to not be found wanting at the judgment is to buy gold tried in the fire. Outward obedience and trying hard will never get us there–that is a system of works. Instead, to pass through the narrow gate is to deny our own sense of ability and any personal agenda, fully give ourselves to Jesus, and receive his righteousness. This act of faith causes a great groaning in our souls as our inner rebellion and wickedness cry out against crucifixion. Will you, like Nebuchadnezzar, humble your heart before the mighty God of heaven? Or, like Belshazzar, will you spend your last day on earth partying with the holy things of God?
Indifference grows when we sin, feel ashamed, and then blow off the shame. If we think, “I can get away with it,” then we won’t repent. In grief, the Holy Spirit will leave us, and all that will be left is a shell of religion. The child who regularly steals a chocolate and reasons that it’s right is in the same shameless, indifferent condition as King David who, without a twinge of conscience, blew off the shame of adultery and then killed a man. The only difference in the two cases is in degree. The commonness of this phenomenon and the ease with which it occurs should greatly alarm us. Precious one, have you resisted the cry of your conscience until it ceased, and then figured that everything was okay? If this is your case, do not sleep until you’ve gotten clear with Jesus!
When most of Europe had rolled over to Nazi forces, one man–Winston Churchill–took a stand and declared, “We shall never surrender.” He understood the will of God to defend Christian civilization and boldly stood in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30). Behind the scenes, Rees Howells prayed through to victory on key events that overthrew Hitler and secured the Allies’ victory.
Today, it looks like much of Western civilization and the Christian world is rolling over to the devil and political correctness. But, behind the scenes, men and women who see God’s purpose for America on a global scale are in their prayer closets, crying out to Jesus Christ to bring a revival of righteousness to America. Have you taken this stand? If you haven’t, will you, today?
Indifference thrives on moral insanity. Like many Americans, you may recognize that our country is crashing. But what are you doing about it? Have you taken the attitude, “Well, there’s nothing that I can do about it,” and then responded with either angry feelings towards the corrupt “powers that be,” or by saying, “Well, I might as well enjoy life while I can?” This sin of not praying will not be atoned for. God is willing to step into history and turn America back to righteousness. But, God will not do it until Christians will give up their casualness and entertainment, wake up to reality, and weep and wail in the prayer closet as if they would not be denied. Will you do this?
(Notes are available!)
Today, violence, suffering, and the inner pain that sin has brought to our culture–which all would have caused our grandparents to weep, wail, and fast–now produces almost no tears, no brokenness, no crying out to God, almost no reaction at all… We see many of those around us sinking into hell, and yet we’re only slightly concerned about them. We are much more concerned about our own lives, our own pain, our own whatever, and have only a slight burden of prayer, in spite of this incredible, palpable wickedness… With hardened hearts and seared consciences, we assume, “Sure, everything that’s happening in the world is terrible, but that will never happen to me. God won’t bring his judgment on me. After all, I’m an American.” This is a lie from Satan! Are you consciously aware that the lukewarm church is a billboard sign from God that proclaims His judgment has already come upon the church?
God commands us through the prophet Joel, “Rend your heart.” This happens when we finally get honest and earnestly confess our own self-centeredness and shallowness and cry out to Jesus, asking Him to change us. Isn’t it time that the unholy trinity of me, myself, and I be fully crucified by Jesus? Will you cry out to Jesus to change this, or will you allow this suffocating indifference to blind you to your lukewarmness?
Unlike contracts, covenants are confirmed with blood. The old covenant, with blood between God and Israel, required legal obedience under punishment of death. While the law says, “You have to stop what you’re doing wrong and try harder to do what’s right,” the new covenant contained in the blood of Jesus says, “Lay down distractions, busy-ness, and all other loves. Turn to the face of Jesus and ask to be his bride.” Practically, this means seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and trusting Jesus to give you exactly what he wants you to have. Have you left the abuse of the devil and entered this blessed rest of Jesus?
In his message to the church at Laodicea, Jesus promises those who buy gold, white robes, and eye salve from him: “All those whom I may love, I convict and instruct. So you must be zealous and you must repent…the one overcoming, I will give to him to sit with Me on My throne” (Revelation 3:19-21).
Do you hear the instructions of Jesus? Your salvation depends on obeying and submitting to what the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart. Jesus said, “My sheep always heed My voice, and I know them, and they always follow Me” (John 10:27).
Does this describe your Christian experience? Or are there areas of rebellion in your life that you’ve been “working on”–perhaps for years? Beloved, do not rest until you’ve overcome sin by faith in Jesus Christ!
After conversion, many Christians live in the lowlands. Like Abraham, they ask God to bless the work of their own hands, and are unaware that the Holy Spirit left them. Jesus is calling us to higher ground. The Holy Spirit must deal with us to the very bottom before sinners can be brought to Jesus through our testimony–and before we can be truly saved. Can you, like Paul the Apostle, say, “I have been, and still am crucified with Christ?”
On December 26, 1934, the Holy Spirit revealed the Every Creature Vision to Rees Howells. Just as the Savior came to make atonement for the whole world, so would the Holy Spirit live in the bodies of 10,000 people who would be channels to bring the gospel of holiness to every person on earth. This is the purpose of the National Prayer Chapel. Will you sacrificially give at the call of the Holy Spirit to move Pilgrim’s Progress to National FM radio?
Thank you to those who called and gave to cover the cost of radio for January! God bless you!
After advising the church at Laodicea to buy gold tried in the fire (faith) and white robes (righteousness), our risen Lord adds, “and eye salve, that you may see.” This salve signifies the anointing of the Holy Spirit that allows us to see and hear what the Lord is doing and saying in this time. It includes both the spiritual awareness of one’s condition needed for true conversion and the Pentecost anointing that allows us to speak the word of God with boldness and power. Are your eyes anointed with this salve?
In this meaty sermon, Pastor Ray digs deep into the three secret acts of righteousness for which God will openly reward us: giving alms, secret prayer, and fasting. These practices nourish our inner soul life and make us spiritually rich and fat, regardless of our physical circumstances. Selflessness and entire consecration to Jesus must underlay these three acts. This sermon is a must-listen for those seeking stability in their Christian experience, true Christian community, real answers to their prayers, the glory of God’s name, and the coming of his kingdom!
(Note: An outline of this sermon is available here!)
Today, we successfully rebroadcast yesterday’s message over WAVA 780 AM. Thank you, Lord Jesus! If you haven’t already, listen to this sharp message about the need to totally sell out to Jesus Christ!
The risen Christ’s second admonition to the church at Laodicea is to buy “white garments.” Like Adam and Eve, those in the church were naked because of their sin–unlike Adam and Eve, they didn’t realize it. We receive these garments by faith from Jesus when we completely consecrate ourselves to him and remain consecrated. The finished work of holiness is not an absolute perfection, but a moral perfection from which we can fall. Do not trust in a past experience. Are you overcoming in Jesus, right now?
(NOTE: Although the broadcast was live online, it did not air on the radio due to some technical difficulties. We will be re-airing the broadcast tomorrow.)
Jesus urges the church at Laodicea to “buy gold tried in the fire.” The gold is saving faith (1 Peter). The cost is to fully submit to Christ’s refining fire that purifies, sanctifies, and ultimately saves the soul as it walks in the promises of God and doesn’t give in to despair (Malachi 3). The resurrected Jesus is saying, “You’ve been very religious, but you’ve ducked and dodged the refiner’s fire.” You cannot be saved unless you allow the Holy Spirit to finish this work of holiness in your heart. Will you let Jesus sign the executive orders to release the Holy Spirit in your heart and block everything that stands in the way of your sanctification?
Is there a fire for God in your heart? A close look at Jesus’ parable of the sower sheds light on his message to the lukewarm church at Laodicea. Like these early Christians, many in the modern American church, as well as much of the western world, have had the fire of God in their hearts diluted by the ice water of the responsibilities of life and pursuit of prosperity. Indifference to this concept is a sure sign that you are lukewarm. Where are you today with Jesus?
In this first message in the Sermon on the Mount series, Pastor Ray lays out the design of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount to straighten out the bitterness of the human heart and put us on the road to righteousness. Because the Beatitudes are sequential, we won’t make spiritual progress if we avoid mourning over the ugliness of our sinful condition. But if we’re willing to mourn, we can move into the meekness described in verses 21 to 48. Will you let the Holy Spirit expose all the sin of your heart? Will you let him take you low enough so that you will be compassionate to all people, and find great happiness in loving those who despise you?
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