Monday, July 14, 2014, 3:00 p.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV). Proclaim the Good News The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. This is a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ and his ministry, and yet, as followers of Jesus Christ, and as his Body, we are to carry on the work of his ministry, for we are to be like him. If we are in Christ Jesus, by faith, then we also have the Spirit of the Lord upon us and within us, and we have an anointing of the Lord, too. “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Co. 1:21-22). We, as well, are to proclaim the Good News of our salvation. Jesus told his followers that when the Spirit of God came upon them, they would be his witnesses throughout the world (See Ac. 1:8). He also instructed them that they were to go and to make disciples of Christ of people of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus Christ had commanded them (See Matt. 28:18-20). He told his followers, too, that they were to let their lights shine before men. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the Good News of the gospel of our salvation. Freedom for Captives He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, So, what is this Good News we are to proclaim? First off, we are to bind up the brokenhearted. To bind up a wound is to dress the wound. The dressing is “used by a person for application to a wound to promote healing and/or prevent further harm” (Wikipedia). A person who is brokenhearted is one who is overcome by grief or despair. In context, it appears that this is speaking of ones who are overcome by grief concerning sin, i.e. it appears they are sorrowful and repentant over their sin, though it may not be limited to just their sin. Still, the solution is the same. Jesus Christ, his blood shed on the cross for our sins, and his salvation is the dressing for our wounds. To bind means to secure. When we are secure in Christ, he brings healing to our wounds, our hurts and our suffering. He heals our sin sick souls, he delivers us out of bondage to sin, and he sets us free. Amen! We are to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners; to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus (See Ac. 26:16-18). This means we teach them that coming to Christ means death to sin, new lives in Christ Jesus, and walking in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, all in the power and working of the Spirit within them (See Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-4; & 1 Jn. 1-5). It means we teach them that God’s grace is not a free license to continue in willful sin, but his grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled and upright lives while we wait for Christ’s return (See Tit. 2:11-14). And, it means that we teach that Christ died for our sins so that we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). The Lord’s Favor to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, The year of the Lord’s favor is the year of his grace when God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. When he died, he took upon himself the sins of the entire world. He put our sins to death on the cross, and he conquered them in his resurrection, too. We receive his grace into our lives by faith - a gift from God. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:8-10). We can do nothing of our own accord to earn or to deserve our salvation. Our fleshly works will not save us. We can never be good enough to earn God’s grace. It is a free gift from God, yet we must receive it by faith. We do this by humbling ourselves before God, sorrowful and repentant over our sin, allowing his Spirit to transform our hearts and minds away from sin (out of darkness) and to God (into his light). This is God’s plan of salvation, not just so we could be delivered from the penalty of sin, or just so we could go to heaven one day, but his plan was to put sin to death in our lives, to give us completely new lives in Christ Jesus, and to empower us by his Spirit to walk in his righteousness and holiness. This is true grace, for it does not leave us still bound in sin, but it sets us FREE! AMEN! Being saved to something means we have been saved out of something. All people who are still in their sins are subject to the judgment of hell and the fires of damnation for eternity. We cannot preach the true gospel of our salvation absent of the teaching on judgment. God will judge us according to what we did with his Son and with his great salvation. If we failed to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation from sin, we will face eternity without God and in eternal punishment. We must understand, therefore, what it means to believe in Jesus and what it means to truly be saved from sin – death to sin, but alive to God! There is the judgment that will condemn people for eternity, but there is a judgment, as well - a divine discipline - that will take place, and perhaps has already begun, in which God will judge his adulterous church in order to bring them back to their Lord, so that he can heal them, restore them and revive their hearts. He will also judge the earth and the inhabitants upon the earth. I believe prophecy of scripture teaches us that many will flock to Jesus Christ during this time, yet many will continue in unbelief and stubbornness of heart, too. After this time, Jesus Christ will return for his bride and we who are in Christ Jesus by faith will be with our Lord forever. Comfort and Joy to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, or when we return to Christ after having strayed away from him for a time, we receive comfort from our Lord, for he forgives us of our sins, and he gives us a new beginning or a restart (a revival). Instead of mourning over sin, or instead of the sorrow over the pain of unjust suffering, or in place of sadness due to having had to undergo divine discipline due to stubbornness or rebellion, he crowns our heads with the beauty and the authority of Christ and of his righteousness. He gives us joy over our newfound freedom in Christ, and over the healing he has brought into our lives. We, as the Lord’s servants, are to be ministers of this comfort, healing and restoration in the lives of repentant sinners. We are to demonstrate for them the love, healing, forgiveness and restoration of our Lord to all those who, by faith, receive Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer / Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer, This is my constant longing and prayer; Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures, Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear. Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion, Loving, forgiving, tender and kind, Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting, Seeking the wandering sinner to find. O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit, Holy and harmless, patient and brave; Meekly enduring cruel reproaches, Willing to suffer others to save. O to be like Thee! while I am pleading, Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love; Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling, Fit me for life and Heaven above. Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee, Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art; Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness; Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.