Thursday, February 3, 2011

Message Nineteen: Blessed Are The Meek

Matthew 5:5

A woman was helping her husband select a new suit, but the two disagreed over the one to be chosen. “Very well,” cried the wife, “go ahead and please yourself. After all, you’re the one who’ll wear the suit.” “Well, dear,” replied the husband, “I did figure that I’d be wearing the coat and vest.” “That husband,” said the man who told me the joke, “is what I call a meek man.”
But that’s not the meaning of the word “meek” in the Bible. And the Lord Jesus didn’t have such a person in mind when He said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

The word “meek” signifies a spirit of regulation. It describes an animal which has been tamed. It’s used of a horse which has become obedient to the reins, or of a dog who has been taught to obey. It describes a creature that’s under control. So a meek person is one who’s controlled by Christ. He’s spirited, but he’s under the control of the Holy Spirit; therefore he’s not shiftless. He’s lion-hearted, but he’s under the control of the Lord; therefore he’s not loose. The Savior does in the spiritual realm what science does in the physical realm. Science takes a Niagara River and transforms its turbulence into electrical energy to give us heat, light and power. The Lord took Matthew who was one of the crookedest crooks and made him into one of the saintliest saints. One day the Lord Jesus said to him, “Follow Me!” Instantly he left his thieving for teaching, he exchanged his wretchedness to write the book of Matthew. “Once a thief, always a thief?” Oh, no; not when the Lord transforms him into a real preacher. Think of Peter. The salty, hostile hands of the cursing sinner became the soft, healing hands of a Christlike saint. He took that diamond in the rough, and transformed and tamed him. Yes, when you submit yourself to the claims of Christ, your untamed nature is brought under His control, and you’ll become meek–tamed–fit for the Master’s use.

The word “meek” signifies a spirit of resignation. You see it in Job. He was the richest cattleman in his day. But one day a messenger rushed to his home, saying, “Your oxen were plowing, with donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us, drove away the animals and killed all the farmhands except me. I am the only one left.” While his messenger was still speaking, another arrived with more bad news, saying, “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up all your sheep and all the herdsmen, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” Before he finished, another messenger rushed in, saying, “Three bands of Chaldeans have driven off your camels and killed your servants, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” As he was still speaking, another said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting in the oldest brother’s home, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in and engulfed the house so that the roof fell in on them and all are dead; and I alone escaped to tell you.” Then Job fell down upon the ground and said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” You see this attitude of resignation in Paul. Threatening with every breath and eager to destroy every Christian, he hurried to Damascus to bring the Christians in chains to Jerusalem. As he was nearing Damascus, suddenly a brilliant light from heaven spotted down upon him. He fell to the ground with all resistance broken, asking, “Lord what wilt Thou have me to do?” The meek man is the one who says to the Lord, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt. Thy will be done.”

The word “meek” signifies a spirit of respect. The meek man is always angry at the right time and never angry at the wrong time. He heeds the Bible verse, “Be angry and sin not.” When anger is for your own sake, it’s wrong. When it’s for the sake of others, it’s right. Look at Jesus. He was never angry at the insults and injuries He received. But His eyes blazed with anger when He saw the money-changers in His Master’s house. His anger wasn’t destructive but saving, not lacerating but healing.

The word “meek” signifies a spirit of reasonableness. It’s humble, not haughty. When Sammy Morris left Africa for America to train for Christian service, he came to a Christian college. When the President of the University asked him what room he wanted, Sammy replied, “If there’s a room nobody wants, give it to me.” That’s meekness. And the Bible says, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

“Is the Lord speaking of a place?” you wonder. Oh, He’ll fill to the full all your needs. But in addition, He’ll give you His peace that nothing can destroy, and He’ll give you His power that no one can defeat.

But it’s not in our nature to be meek. That’s why our Lord said, “You must be born again.” Come to the Lord. That’s the first step. Then commit yourself to the Lord. That’s the second step. As you’re governed and guided by Him, He’ll give you everything you need, and you’ll enter into the happy life which He has promised and which He alone can give.
copyright 2000 Guido Evangelistic Association

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version.

This series of messages on the books of the Bible were originally written for broadcast on Dr. Guido's radio program, "The Sower." They are collected and reprinted here for your enjoyment and spiritual edification. Go to the Sower's site for more at www.TheSower.com.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Message Eighteen: Blessed Are They That Mourn

Matthew 5:4
A little fellow was down in the dumps. “What’s the matter?” asked his neighbor. “I’m at the awkward stage,” he sighed. “I’m too old to cry and too young to cuss.”

I hope you’ll always be too young to cuss, but never too old to cry, for our Lord said in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”

“What?” you ask. “Does happiness come from a heart that’s pierced? How can crying and cheer go together? That’s a contradiction: ‘Happy are they that mourn.’” But it’s not!

The Lord Jesus didn’t mean, “Blessed are the miserable.” Neither did He say, “Good for you who are gloomy.” Quite the contrary. One day He said to His followers, “When you fast, do not look gloomy like hypocrites: they make their faces unsightly so that other people may see that they are fasting. I tell you this: they have their reward already.”

That reminds me of the remark: “Some people’s religion is like a man with a headache - he can’t afford to give up his head, but it hurts him to keep it.” That’s not the religion of our Redeemer. Jesus wasn’t joyless, and He doesn’t want His Christians to be crybabies.
What, then, did He mean when he said, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted!” Let’s see.

The word “mourn” is one of the strongest expressions for mourning in the Greek language. It’s a sorrow that cuts the heart to tears. Not only is it felt in the soul but it’s seen in the face and heard in the words. It’s a sorrow that can’t be hidden, and with such a broken heart comes the bliss of God.

It speaks of the mourning for sin. As Isaiah looked to the Lord he saw his own loathsomeness. He cried, “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell among a people of unclean lips; yet with these eyes I have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” After he cried, after he confessed his sin, he was cleansed. From heaven came the promise, “Your iniquity is removed, and your sin is wiped away.” Before he scaled the heights of spiritual glory, he sank into the depths of sincere grief. There is always the remorse before there is the rejoicing. Listen to David. He cried, “My body wasted away with moaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me, the sap in me dried up as in summer drought. Then I declared my sin. I did not conceal my guilt. I said, ‘With sorrow I will confess my disobedience to the Lord;’ then Thou didst remit the penalty of my sin.” But he didn’t stop there. He went from sobbing to singing, for he shouted, “Rejoice in the Lord and be glad.”

This verse, “Blessed are they that mourn,” speaks of the mourning in sympathy. One day our Lord received a letter telling Him that a friend whom He loved was ill. When He arrived at his home He found Lazarus had already been four days in the tomb. Mary and Martha came to Him, and when He saw them crying He was deeply moved. “Where have you laid him?” He asked. “Come and see,” they replied. Then, the Bible says, “Jesus wept.” Do you weep with those who weep? It was Lincoln who said, “I am sorry for the man who can’t feel the whip when it’s laid on the other man’s back.”

The verse, “Blessed are they that mourn,” speaks of the mourning in soul-travail. One of his congregation had disobeyed the Lord. When he heard about it, this pastor, Samuel, cried all night to the Lord. Do you sob over the sins of your family and friends? Do you weep over their worldliness and waywardness? Paul did. Hear him as he says, “I am speaking the truth as a Christian, and my own conscience, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, assures me it is no lie: in my heart there is great grief and unceasing sorrow. For I could even pray to be outcast from Christ myself for the sake of my unclean lips and I dwell among a people of unclean lips; yet with these eyes I have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” After he cried, after he confessed his sin, he was cleansed. From heaven came the promise, “Your iniquity is removed, and your sin is wiped away.” Before he scaled the heights of spiritual glory, he sank into the depths of sincere grief. There is always the remorse before there is the rejoicing. Listen to David. He cried, “My body wasted away with moaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me, the sap in me dried up as in summer drought. Then I declared my sin. I did not conceal my guilt. I said, ‘With sorrow I will confess my disobedience to the Lord;’ then Thou didst remit the penalty of my sin.” But he didn’t stop there. He went from sobbing to singing, for he shouted, “Rejoice in the Lord and be glad.”

This verse, “Blessed are they that mourn,” speaks of the mourning in sympathy. One day our Lord received a letter telling Him that a friend whom He loved was ill. When He arrived at his home He found Lazarus had already been four days in the tomb. Mary and Martha came to Him, and when He saw them crying He was deeply moved. “Where have you laid him?” He asked. “Come and see,” they replied. Then, the Bible says, “Jesus wept.” Do you weep with those who weep? It was Lincoln who said, “I am sorry for the man who can’t feel the whip when it’s laid on the other man’s back.”

The verse, “Blessed are they that mourn,” speaks of the mourning in soul-travail. One of his congregation had disobeyed the Lord. When he heard about it, this pastor, Samuel, cried all night to the Lord. Do you sob over the sins of your family and friends? Do you weep over their worldliness and waywardness? Paul did. Hear him as he says, “I am speaking the truth as a Christian, and my own conscience, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, assures me it is no lie: in my heart there is great grief and unceasing sorrow. For I could even pray to be outcast from Christ myself for the sake of my brothers, my natural kinfolk.” Only he who sobs as he sows the seed will return with rejoicing, for the Bible says, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

If you mourn in these ways, the Bible says you’ll be “comforted.” If you go to God in grief over your sins and over the sins and sorrows of others, you’ll be comforted. He’ll not only heal your heart, but He’ll help you. He’ll not only cleanse you completely, but He’ll continue with you constantly. For a long time I wanted to become a Christian, but I was afraid. I was afraid my friends would laugh at me. And I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to hold out. “Suppose I become a Christian,” I said, “and I go back and play for the nightclubs again and sin. Oh, that would be worse than not becoming a Christian at all.” But one night I was so convicted of my sins that I wept bitterly. I cast myself on the Lord for His mercy. He saved me, and with His mercy came His might. He not only comforted me, but He gave me courage. He took away my fears and gave me faith. I found that the verse is true. “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.”
copyright 2000 Guido Evangelistic Association

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version.

This series of messages on the books of the Bible were originally written for broadcast on Dr. Guido's radio program, "The Sower." They are collected and reprinted here for your enjoyment and spiritual edification. Go to the Sower's site for more at www.TheSower.com.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Message Seventeen: Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit

Matthew 5:3

The Constitution of the United States guarantees every citizen the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But as we turn to the 5th chapter of Matthew we see that the Constitution of the Kingdom of God guarantees every citizen the right to possession of happiness.
Your first birth, or your natural birth brings you into the human kingdom. But your second birth, or your spiritual birth brings you into the divine kingdom. There’s no neutral realm. You’re in one or the other. Our Lord said to one who had been born one time, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Sitting beside me is our Norwegian elk hound. If she wanted to become a man, she wouldn’t need to do better, but to do different. Except my dog be born again, she can’t enter into the kingdom of man.

To you who have been born again, to you who have repented of your sins and received the Lord Jesus as your Savior, is guaranteed the right to the possession of happiness. For Matthew 5:3 declares, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

The blessedness which belongs to the one who has been born again isn’t a blessedness which is given in heaven, but which is given here. It isn’t something into which the Christian will enter, it’s something into which he has entered. This verse is saying in effect, “O the blessedness of being born again. O the happiness of knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord.”

The word “blessed” speaks of happiness. But it’s different from our word happiness. The English word happiness contains the root “hap” which means chance. Human happiness is something that’s dependent on the chances and changes of life. Divine happiness is something that’s dependent on Christ. It’s constant and changeless.

So the verse reads, “O the happiness of those who are poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The word poor in this verse speaks of one who’s absolutely destitute. It describes a man who, because he has no earthly resources at all, puts his trust in the Lord.

But you must be careful not to think because a person is poor in material things that he’s automatically on his way to heaven. One fellow believed that, so he wouldn’t work. He boasted, “I’d rather be a poor man and go to heaven than to be a rich man and go to hell.” But a man doesn’t go to heaven because he’s poor, nor does he go to hell because he’s rich. It’s not what you do with poverty or plenty that determines the destiny of your soul, but what you do with a Person - the Lord Jesus. And the poverty which is blessed is the poverty of the spirit.

To be poor in spirit, you must be aware of your own spiritual poverty. One night as I confessed my sins to the Lord, I cried, “O God, I’m so sinful. O God, have mercy on my miserable soul, for I deserve the hottest place in hell. Save me, or I perish. Lord Jesus, come into my heart, please.” Presently I heard one whisper, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” The poor in spirit, you see, are those who recognize their sinfulness, and they’re not only ready to confess their sins, but also to quit them.

To be poor in spirit, you must accept the riches that Jesus has provided by His death and resurrection. One night I stood by the bed of one who was desperately ill. Some said there was no hope, but he called a physician and placed himself in his hands. After a careful examination, the doctor said, “Take this medication, and I’m sure you’ll be well.” Just to have admitted his illness wouldn’t have made him whole. But admitting it and accepting the prescription did. Just so, to be made whole, to have happiness here and happiness hereafter, you must humble yourself at the foot of the cross, admit your sinfulness and accept the Savior.

There was a young man who turned his inheritance into cash and left home with a haughty spirit. He squandered everything in reckless living. He spent it all, and when a famine swept across the land, he felt the pinch. He attached himself to a landowner who sent him to his farm to mind the pigs. He would have been glad to fill his belly with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. Then he came to his senses. Broken in body and spirit he hurried to his father, saying, “I have sinned, against God and against you, I am no longer fit to be called your son.” His father pardoned him and provided him with everything he needed. Great was his happiness. There’s the poverty that makes for richness and rejoicing. The realization of our sinful condition, and the acceptance of the Savior. O come to Jesus, just as you are, and you’ll find His welcome is warm, His pardon is complete, His grace is sufficient, and His power is adequate.

copyright 2000 Guido Evangelistic Association

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version.

This series of messages on the books of the Bible were originally written for broadcast on Dr. Guido's radio program, "The Sower." They are collected and reprinted here for your enjoyment and spiritual edification. Go to the Sower's site for more at www.TheSower.com.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Message Sixteen: Fishers Of Men

Matthew 4:19

In Holland recently, a $280,000 yacht was launched for the Sheik of the Bahreini Islands. It was equipped with closed-circuit televison, so that he’d be able to watch the floats of his fishing lines while sitting in his air-conditioned stateroom. Can you think of a more comfortable way to fish?
But when the Lord Jesus said to Andrew and Peter in Matthew 4:19, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men,” He called them to a life of hardship as well as hope, of toil as well as triumph; and you can’t have one without the other.

Too many church members have become so concerned about their own comfort that they’re not catching any fish. They’re not willing to make any sacrifices, and souls aren’t being saved. But He who made the supreme sacrifice, the Master Fisherman, has shown us the way. He goes on ahead, and He says, “Follow Me.” I’m going with Him, no matter what the cost or cross may be. How about you?

“But,” you protest, “I can’t be a preacher.” No, but you can be a personal worker, and there’s no greater way to win the lost to the Lord.

Mr. Spurgeon said, “If you had one hundred empty bottles before you, and you threw a pail of water over them, some would get a little in them, but most would fall outside. If you wish to fill the bottles, the best way is to take each bottle separately and put a vessel full of water to the bottle’s mouth.”

Henry Ward Beecher backed him up by saying, “The longer I live the more confidence I have in those sermons preached where one man is the minister and one man is the congregation.”
D. L. Moody said, “I’d rather be the means of setting ten men to work at winning souls for Christ, than of converting a hundred.”

Trumbull, a mighty soul winner said, “The world is never going to be brought to Christ wholesale, but one by one. Men aren’t born collectively; they don’t die collectively; they don’t accept or reject Christ collectively. General preaching has its place, but it’s a preliminary only in this work; the harvest must be hand picked.”


Not every Christian is called to be an evangelist or a pastor, but every one is called to be a fisher of men. You don’t have to be a great Christian, but you must be a genuine Christian. If you haven’t received Christ, you’re not a Christian; if you’re not a Christian, you can’t be a Christian witness–a fisher of men–a soul winner.

May I give you some suggestions that will help you in this work to which you’re called? To make it easier to remember them let’s use the letter P.

First, the prospect. That’s the person you want to win for Christ. Here’s a chorus I often use as my prayer: “Lord, lay some soul upon my heart, and love that soul through me, and may I humbly do my part to lead that soul to Thee.” When the Lord lays that soul upon your heart, learn all you can about him or her, and all the time you’re with that one, do your best by your lips and your life to make that one hungry to become a Christian.

Second, the product. Remember that you’re presenting Christ, not merely your church; the Savior, not yourself; and while doing this, use the Word of the Lord. It’s His Word that saves, not yours. Look to the Lord to lead you in the verses to use, and He will bless His Word.
Third, the promise. Let that one know, that although he or she is a sinner, the Lord Jesus promised in Revelation, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in.”

Fourth, the procedure. Always be on the lookout to win a soul to the Lord. One evening at a dinner party, an alcoholic found herself seated beside a Christian gentleman. Claiming to be a pagan, she at first didn’t appreciate this. But she found him sympathetic, and she poured out her soul to him. After listening, he suggested, “Why don’t you turn all of your troubles over to the Lord?” She left that dinner, and several days later, she arrived home and found a letter and some books from this Christian man and his wife. She read the books, and it wasn’t long before she dropped to her knees and received Jesus as her Savior. “Within twenty minutes,” she testified, “it was all over. The cocktails and sleeping pills, the fears and the self-pity just went away.” Then she became a fisher of men and won her son, who stood at the top of his class at Yale, to the Lord, and now he’s preparing for the ministry.

There’s no greater mission than that of bringing a soul to the Lord, and there’s no greater mischief than that of keeping a soul from the Lord. O, follow the Lord, and He’ll make you a fisher of men.

copyright 2000 Guido Evangelistic Association

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version.

This series of messages on the books of the Bible were originally written for broadcast on Dr. Guido's radio program, "The Sower." They are collected and reprinted here for your enjoyment and spiritual edification. Go to the Sower's site for more at www.TheSower.com.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Message Fifteen: Follow Me

Matthew 4:19

When he was asked why he gave up a position in a profitable corporation to serve in the President’s cabinet, a gentleman said, “I couldn’t say ‘no’ to the president.” When I was asked why I turned from the orchestra pit to the pulpit, I explained, “I couldn’t say ‘no’ to Jesus.” He said to me, even as He says to you, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

This call is to a Person. I didn’t give up one profession for another. I gave up my profession for a Person - the Lord Jesus Christ. It wasn’t that I wanted to fill a pulpit, I wanted to fellowship with a Person - the Lord Jesus Christ. The call isn’t to follow a career, it’s to follow Christ. That makes all the difference in the world. The other day two men left the ministry. On being asked why, one said, “The church failed me,” and the other said, “I wasn’t paid enough.” The trouble was they were devoted to the church, not to Christ; they were concerned about a salary, not the Savior. I don’t preach because I’m paid. I’d pay to preach. And the church may fail me, but Christ won’t, and I’m determined not to fail Him. One day an ordinary man came to Socrates and confessed, “I’m a poor man. I have nothing to give you, but I give you myself.” “Don’t you see,” said Socrates, “that you’re giving me the most precious thing of all?” What Jesus wants, and what Jesus needs, is ordinary folk who’ll give Him themselves. Will you?

This call is a privilege. Someone has said, “I should have been proud to have held the spyglass for Columbus, to have picked up the fallen brush for Michelangelo, to have carried Milton’s bag, and to have blackened Shakespeare’s boots.” But I can tell you something far more wonderful than that. What is it? To follow Christ…the Captain who never lost a battle; the Physician who never lost a case; the Counselor who never gave the wrong advice; the Leader who never took the wrong path; the Teacher who never taught the wrong lesson; the Speaker who never spoke the wrong word; the Man who never had to apologize, or retract a word, or retrace a step; the King of kings and Lord of lords.

This call is pressing. When the Lord Jesus said, “Follow Me,” Peter and Andrew immediately left their nets, and followed Him. No, they didn’t hesitate or hold back. The call was so pressing that they hurried. That’s what Matthew did too. One day he was sitting at a tax collection booth. Jesus came by and said, “Follow Me.” Matthew left everything, sprang up and followed Him. What about your nets, Andrew? What about your boats, Peter? What about your money, Matthew? The answer is: they left everything. Matthew was a schemer, but he didn’t try to hold onto his coins with one hand and Christ with the other. Peter’s soul was like a surging tide. Once it was high for fishing, but now it was high for following. The fighting hands of a cursing fisherman became the healing hands of a consecrated follower. When Betty Stam, who was martyred in China, heard the pressing call from Christ, she left everything and followed Him. On that day she wrote, “Lord, I give up my own purposes and plans, all my own desires, hopes and ambitions, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee to be Thine forevermore. I hand over to Thy keeping all my friendships. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit.”

This call has a promise. Our Lord said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” But you protest, “The Lord doesn’t mean me. I’ve been mean and miserly, crooked and contemptible, angry and arrogant, a slave to Satan and sin.” That may be. But Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” If you do the following, He’ll do the fashioning; if you do the complying, He’ll do the changing; if you do the turning, He’ll do the transforming. He’ll take away your strengthlessness and give you His strength; He’ll take away your cowardice and give you His courage; He’ll take away your fetters and give you His freedom; He’ll take away your pollution and give you His purity.

When the Lord saved me, I wanted to serve Him, but I felt so unworthy. One night as I was thinking on my past, it seemed as though I could see the Christless crowd hotfooting it to hell because I had led them astray by playing at the nightclubs. It broke my heart. “Lord,” I cried, “the devil has used me in the past, please use me now and in the future. I don’t think I’ll ever be good enough to be a preacher, I have no eloquence, but I’d like to be a song leader. Lord, I can play just about any instrument, but I can’t sing. My voice is terrible. But somebody told me You made a donkey talk. If You can do that, You can give me a voice and let me sing. Won’t You do it, Lord?” He did! Then one day, after many years as a soloist and song leader, He called me to preach. Since Jesus did that for me–unworthy and unqualified as I am–I know He can do it for you, and more–if you’ll follow Him. You will, won’t you?


copyright 2000 Guido Evangelistic Association

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version.

This series of messages on the books of the Bible were originally written for broadcast on Dr. Guido's radio program, "The Sower." They are collected and reprinted here for your enjoyment and spiritual edification. Go to the Sower's site for more at www.TheSower.com.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Message Fourteen: Our Lord's First Sermon

Matthew 4:17

One day, many years ago, I was asked to preach my first sermon. “What,” I wondered, “shall I preach on?” Turning to some of my preacher-friends, I asked, “What was the first subject you preached on?” You should have heard some of the answers they gave me. “Well,” I replied, “I know what to do. I’ll turn to the Bible and see what Jesus preached on for His first subject.” I found it. It was recorded in Matthew 4:17. There it’s written, “Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent.’” And He added, “Except ye repent, ye shall perish.”

The twelve disciples preached on repentance. The Bible says, “They went out, and preached that men should repent.” It was preached by Peter. He said at Pentecost, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” It was preached by Paul. He said, “God now commandeth all men every where to repent.”

But I’m afraid it’s not being preached very much today. I heard of some boys who went out to play ball. When they arrived on the field, they discovered to their dismay that they had forgotten the ball. There were some moments of frustration, and finally one shouted, “Let’s forget the ball. On with the game!” There are those who are saying, “Let’s forget our sins and shortcomings, our faults and failures. On with the program.” But no program is profitable if repentance is left out. There can’t be that delight for salvation unless first there’s that disturbance for sin.

This morning I picked up a prescription. On the bottle I read the words, “Shake before using.” That’s what God has to do with a lot of us. There has to be that shaking, and it comes through repentance.

But repentance isn’t regret. The word regret means “grief,” or “the feeling of being sorry.” Sometimes when you do something you shouldn’t have done, or you’ve left undone something you should have done, you experience a certain pain of mind. But that’s not repentance. If you really repent, you’ll regret your sins, but no amount of regret can save your soul.

Remorse isn’t repentance. The word remorse means “contrition.” It’s the compunction of conscience for some evil that you’ve done. It carries with it the element of self-reproach. But even though your sins may cause you deep, painful regret; even though you’re so sorry for your sins that you heap self-reproach upon yourself, that’s not repentance. I’ve met many who have been very, very sorry that they’ve done wrong, but who haven’t shown any desire to do right. Consider Judas. He expressed remorse, but he never repented. He went so far as to declare Jesus innocent. But when the priests wouldn’t have anything to do with him, he ran from the temple and committed suicide. No, it’s not enough to say you’re sorry, neither is it enough to be so remorseful that it sends you to your grave. That’s not repentance.

What, then, is repentance? It’s a change of mind. When you repent, you change your mode of thinking. About what? Yourself, your sins and God. Now with that change of mind, there comes a change of manners. There’s no real repentance unless there’s a turning from sin to the Savior. And this involves your intellect, your emotions and your will.

Look at the intellect. Throughout the ministry of Peter and Paul you’ll find they preached on repentance. But before they called on people to repent, they preached on sin. Before I go to a doctor, I must know that I’m sick. And before I called on the great Physician I had to know that I was sick of sin. Before we preachers can call on people to repent, we must show them from the Bible that they are guilty sinners in the sight of God.

Consider the emotions. Tears aren’t always a sign of repentance. But true repentance is always preceded by a certain moving and excitement of the soul. You’re not saved by your feelings. But your feelings don’t remain dead when you’re saved. When Peter saw the awfulness of his sin, he “wept bitterly.” His tears were visible. Whether or not your tears are visible, you must have a spirit of sorrow for your sin.

Now think on the will. There’s no repentance where there’s no willingness to turn from sin to the Savior. There must be right action as well as right attitude. The prodigal said, “I will arise and go to my father.” That was the right attitude. But it didn’t stop there. The Bible says, “he arose, and came to his father.” That’s the right action. When you repent, your sin becomes loathsome, and the Lord becomes lovely, and you turn from your sin to the Savior, casting yourself on His mercy. One came to my study and said, “I know I’m doing wrong, but what I’m doing is beautiful.” Without replying I started to read aloud the Word of the Lord. Soon she sobbed, “Oh, I’m bad. My sin’s horrible. Jesus, You’re wonderful. Save me, save me now.” And He did. That’s repentance. And except you repent, you’ll perish - says the Lord.

copyright 2000 Guido Evangelistic Association

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version.

This series of messages on the books of the Bible were originally written for broadcast on Dr. Guido's radio program, "The Sower." They are collected and reprinted here for your enjoyment and spiritual edification. Go to the Sower's site for more at www.TheSower.com.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Book of Matthew: THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS - Pt. 2

By Dr. Michael Guido, D.D.

Matthew 4:1-11
Years ago a famous comedian made famous the excuse for misbehaving, “The devil made me do it.” The devil used all of his tact and trickery, all of his skill and strength to make Jesus sin, but he failed. So that’s one sentence Jesus never had to say, “The devil made me do it.” But let’s see how the devil tried to make him sin.

The first temptation was an appeal for personal gratification. For forty days and nights Jesus ate nothing. He was very hungry. All around Him in the desert were little round pieces of rock which looked like little loaves of bread. Pointing to them, the devil said, “If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Was the devil concerned about the wants of Jesus? No, only about his own wiles. The devil didn’t want to bring Jesus any good, only grief. And when he tempts you, he holds out something good. But when you grasp it, you get nothing but grief. The temptation to the flesh is one of the strongest that we endure today. You’ll always have the desire to satisfy the demands of your bodies. Just as the devil asked Jesus to do a right thing in a wrong way, so he’ll tempt you. Just as he tempted Jesus to use His powers for His own gratification and not for God’s glory, so he’ll tempt you. God has given you gifts. Use them for His glory, not for your own gratification. He has given you wants, but put the will of God first. Jesus couldn’t have given the bread of life to the world had He used His powers to make the bread for Himself. And if you’d be a blessing to others, don’t break God’s commandments. When the devil asked Jesus to change the stones into bread, He answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’” Man does live by bread surely, but not bread only. Man has a soul as well as a body. There’ll be times in your life when you’ll have to choose between the bread or the will of God. Which will you choose?

The second temptation was an appeal for personal glory. Having failed in his attack at the point of weakness, the devil then approached Jesus at the point of His strength - His faith. He tried to get Jesus to use His faith in the wrong way. First it was an under trust. Then it was an over trust. The devil took Jesus to the roof of a temple in Jerusalem. He said to Him, “If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, ‘He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’” Think of that–the devil used the Scriptures to solicit Jesus to sin! And he’ll use the Bible to get you to be bad. But in his quote the devil made two mistakes–one, he took it out of its context; two, he left out these words: “To keep Thee in all Thy ways.” The devil’s ways are not God’s ways, nor should the devil’s ways be your ways. All of the false religions today are due to the false use of Scripture. They’re due to taking right passages and putting them into wrong settings. Yes, the devil will tempt you to be bad by using the Bible. He’ll insist that you get the other fellow before he gets you. But when he tempts you, do as did Jesus. Use the Bible. Jesus answered, “It is written again, ‘Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God.’” Jesus wasn’t going to ask God to work a miracle so He could be a “show off.” He was more concerned about being Scriptural than sensational, faithful than flashy, loyal to God than loved by the world. How about you?

The third temptation was an appeal for personal gain. He suggested that devotion to God was too dear. He took Jesus to the peak of a very high mountain and showed Him all the nations of the world, and all their glory. “All these things will I give Thee,” he promised, “if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.” “Compromise,” he was saying, “don’t go to the cross. Live on a throne, don’t die on a tree. Wink at wickedness and the world will follow You. Then You’ll have its gold and glory.” But Jesus wanted them to have His grace–even though it meant the cross. So He said, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’” A giant corporation needed the vote of a representative, and a man was sent to see him. When the official couldn’t be bribed, the fellow cried, “Think of the money you’ll make. It’s the bargain of a lifetime. You’ll never have another chance to make that much so easily.” “Easily?” questioned the representative. “Hear me,” he continued. “No one ever yet got a bargain in sin. It’s the highest priced thing in the market. You tell me that all I have to do is to vote ‘right.’ Well, it isn’t. That’s only the beginning of what I’ll have to do. I’ll have to carry the consciousness of my dishonesty to the grave. I’ll have to live with a remorseful conscience. I’ll have to pose before my wife and children as some one I know I’m not. Don’t tell me it’s a bargain.” No, there’s no bargain in sin, only bankruptcy. Be loyal to the Lord. Use His Word and you’ll defeat the devil. And the Lord will bless you for it.

copyright 2000 Guido Evangelistic Association

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version.

This series of messages on the books of the Bible were originally written for broadcast on Dr. Guido's radio program, "The Sower." They are collected and reprinted here for your enjoyment and spiritual edification. Go to the Sower's site for more at www.TheSower.com.