Truly the Greatest Story Ever Told

ch-01-001The true Christmas story is more than a young lady gives birth to a son in a barn that will grow up to change the world.

  • That in itself is a marvelous story.
  • That in itself is a cute story.
  • That in itself is a touching story of no room, taxes, angels, and the wise men.
  • That in itself is a suspenseful story as Joseph is awakened by God told in the middle of the night to flee for the life of the Child.
  • That in itself is a heartbreaking story as Herod kills all babies 2 years and younger

But what makes the story so great is when we see it in panoramic view. When we see it for what it is, it truly is the greatest story ever told!

This greatest story ever told is captured in just one verse:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (Joh 3:16)

It is the greatest story ever told because it is orchestrated by the greatest POWER – “For God…”   

Not  “the force” or the power of a Jedi, but the real power of Jehovah!

Not the “essence of creation” but the CREATOR!

It is the greatest story ever told because it is spawned from the greatest PASSION – “…so loved…”

God performed and gave us this story; not from a debt to us, not to satisfy His ego, but simply because of His great love!

He declared it in this text,  “so loved…”

He defined it by illustration

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13)

He demonstrated it on the cross

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:7-8)

It is the greatest story ever told because it meets the greatest PROBLEM  – “…not perish…”

Meaning that we not perish in the place called hell because of our sin.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Rom 5:12)

For the wages of sin is death; … (Rom 6:23)

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:8)

It is the greatest story ever told because He made  the greatest PROVISION – “…gave His only begotten son..”

It was provided at the greatest cost – His only son 

It was provided for the greatest coverage – all the world  

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2Co 5:14-15)

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1Jn 2:2)

It is the greatest story ever told because through it God CAN make the greatest Promise – “…not perish, but have everlasting life.”

…that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

If you have not received the greatest gift provided through the greatest story, please do so today.  Repent, believe, call, and receive Him!

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A Second Continuing Requirement – Pray without ceasing

8ac179844155a1814ce63e352ac85378Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. (1Th 5:16-17)

As we approach the second coming of the Lord, God gives us (as He did the church at Thessalonica) some things we need to be found continually doing.

The first was “rejoice evermore”

The second requirement is that we are to “pray without ceasing”

Why should we pray without ceasing?

One reason is that we are always open to temptation.

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Mat 26:41)

A second reason is that others around us always need our intercession.

Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: (1Sa 12:23)

The principles of praying without ceasing

Never stop your prayers

Pray with importunity

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. (Luk 11:8)

Pray without impatience, – not to faint! 

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; (Luk 18:1)

Never suspend your prayers

Never let holidays, vacations, or extra work keep you from your prayers. With time off or extra long work hours, pray MORE not LESS!

Never sacrifice your prayers

By perversion 

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (Psa 66:18)

By pride

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luk 18:11-14)

By plotting – by reasoning and deception

Instead of relying on prayer, we resort to cheating, lying, and deception. I call it the Jacob syndrome

The practice of praying without ceasing

Pray in all PLACES  

If I cannot pray there I must not go there.


If I am doing something and I cannot sincerely pray in it… or over it, I must not do it!


He who prays the most lives the best.

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Constancey Required – “Rejoyce evermore”


Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1Th 5:16-18)

As God finishes teaching the church at Thessalonica how to conduct themselves while waiting for His second coming, He gives three groupings of instructions in rapid fire.  They are short statements but carry with them with deep implications.  The three groupings I call “A Christian’s Duties While Waiting”.

The first grouping tells us that while waiting there is a “Constancy Required”.  There are three areas where God requires us to be constantly engaged.  He first commands us to “Rejoice Evermore”


Ever = This tells us that we are to be ever rejoicing.  All the time, every place, in every circumstance.

More = From now on. Increasingly more often.

Important lessons about rejoicing evermore.

It is a repeated command

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.  (Php 4:4)

We always have plenty to do, but this we have always to do – Spurgeon

It is a reasonable command

Because of all He has done for us it is only natural and reasonable that we be a rejoicing people! God puts it best (as always). Read below why we should be rejoicing.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.  (Isa 61:10)
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.  (Isa 12:2)
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.  (Isa 12:3)
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.  (Luk 10:20)

Even if we have little or nothing in this world, we can, and should, decide to rejoice and find our joy in our Lord!

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Hab 3:17-18)

It is a resourceful command – the Joy of the Lord is our strength!

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is our strength. (Neh 8:10)

It counters depression, discouragement, and despair.  It is hard to rejoice and be depressed at the same time.  Do not wait for rejoicing to come, DO IT!

It is not a carnal joy, a circumstantial joy, or a joy common to man, but it is a work IN us by the Holy Spirit. It grows from the new birth disposition.

It is a revealing command

Our response and obedience to the command to rejoice evermore shows our readiness to God’s service by “approving ourselves as the ministers of God”.

But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, … as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; …. (2Co 6:4-10)

What does our rejoicing (or lack thereof) say of our approving?

Decide to rejoice evermore.  Demand it of yourself.

(Watch for the next continuing expectation)

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Be Not Overtaken – let us not sleep..

img_3728-1Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
(1Th 5:6)

God is dealing with the church at Thessalonica about being prepared for the rapture, His some coming in the clouds to snatch His people away to be with Him forever.  He warns them not to let that day “overtake them as a thief”.

Last post we saw that we are not to be overtaken by darkness.  God now warns them (and us) not to let that day overtaken by drowsiness.

Be Not Overtaken by Drowsiness (vs6) – not sleep, as do others…

What others?  There are a good number of examples in Scripture of folks that found themselves in trouble or unprepared because of their inclination to sleep.  When we think of sleep we think of lethargy, laziness, inattentiveness, and a general unawareness of what is happening to us and around us.

This is the present condition of most churches and Christians in America.  It is the time we WAKE UP! Do not  let that day overtake us as others:

 As the disciples in the garden with Jesus and could not watch and pray for an hour.

Let us be on our knees and not asleep in this day and hour that there is so much we need to seek God for and that needs us to intercede.

And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Matthew 26:40

As the disciples at Mt. Transfiguration

We, like they, are missing our glimpses of the Lord’s glory!  We sleep through His presence and manifestation of holiness and power.

And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. Luke 9:30-32

 As Samson sleeping in the lap of temptation and weakness for pleasure.

Let us be holy and set ourselves apart from sinners, live right, and flee temptation.

And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. Judges 16:18-19

 As Jonah sleeping while running from God’s call.

Let us be sensitive to God and our sin.  Let us not run and become so calloused that we can sleep through God’s chastising as Jonah did.

 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. Jonah 1:4-5

As the proverbs sluggards what will not work simply because of laziness.

He could find much time to sleep and none to work. Let us Labour remembering our work in the Lord is not in vain.

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth,  and thy want as an armed man. Proverbs 6:9-11

As the young man that fell asleep as Paul preached and fell and died.

Awake Christian!  Hear the word of God and let not our hearts be hardened or wax fat so we cannot hear.

 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. Acts 20:9

 Do not let THAT DAY overtake you!


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Do Not Let That Day Overtake You

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (1Th 5:4)

The rapture, the catching away of the saints, is a certainty and a soon coming event. God wants us all to be ready. He does not want us to be taken unawares, but be making every preparation and be active in His work when He comes that we need not be ashamed.
Here he warns us not to let that day overtake us as a thief might. The thief comes to steal from us what is rightfully ours. God does not want us to lose what is ours by letting that day of His return come upon us unprepared. In this passage, God gives us reasons we may let that day overtake us.

Reason 1 – We need not let that day overtake us because of darkness; the sin and wickedness of the world and the natural flesh.

Because we have been delivered FROM darkness
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (Col 1:12-13)
Because we have been CALLED OUT of darkness
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1Pe 2:9)
Because we are TO CAST OFF darkness
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. (Rom 13:12)
Let’s leave the paths of sin and darkness so that we will walk in light as children of light and be ready for THAT day when we see Jesus.

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Pleasing God More and More

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 1 Thessalonians 4:1  

IThessalonians 4 is a chapter dealing with the challenge to please God more and more. The church at Thessalonica was a good church by all accounts without many problems, but even in that, they were being challenged by God to focus on pleasing Him more.

We are to Please God with a Life that is Pure

We are commanded not to defile ourselves in the practices that are vile.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: (1Th 4:3)

God commanded them to abstain from fornication. The word translated fornication is a word where we get our English word for pornography.

We need to be reminded in this day of rampant immorality that sexual activity outside of marriage is sin! This needs to be taught to every teen, every young adult, every widow, and divorced person that to please God they must stay morally pure and abstain from fornication.

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. (Heb 13:4)

We need to stay pure in this area in obedience to the command

We need to stay pure in this area in obedience as a Christian (vs5)

Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 1 Thessalonians 4:5

We need to stay pure in this area in obedience to a call (vs7)

For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:7

We are commended not to defile ourselves by the proper possessing of our vessels (vs4)

That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; (1Th 4:4)

This means taking positive control of our body and spirits to rule over our flesh so we can stay pure.

We are to Please God with a Love that is Powerful

A powerful love is a love taught of God – to despise not (vs8)

He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. (1Th 4:8)

Another way to put is that we are not to be a respecter , or disrespecter of persons.

Because of the  INSTRUCTION of God 

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. James 2:1
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. (Jas 2:8-9)

Because of the IMAGE of God 

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen 1:27)

Because of the INCLUSIVENESS of God 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed,and heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3:28-29)


Let’s please God more and more…

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Works of Faith


Faith works powerpoint 2Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; (1Th 1:3)

The relationship between faith and work has been preached, taught, and pursued since the time of Abraham and before.  Although there has been much taught and written about the works of faith I believe we are lacking a full understanding. Below is a simple description of the three works of faith.

First – The Works of “Supplying Faith”.

This is the power of faith. It is the work that God does.

Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: (2Th 1:11)

 It is God in us working the power of faith. We must seek and permit this work of faith of God in our lives if we are to experience power in our faith

Second – The Works of “Supporting faith”.

This is the product of faith. This is the work that we do.

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; (1Th 1:3)

These are the works of faith described in Hebrews 11.  These are the feats of action begun, performed, and completed by acting in faith toward God and His Word.  This is the common work of faith we think of when we seek an expression of faith.

Third – The Works of “Showing”  Faith.

This is the proving of faith. This is the work that faith does.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (Jas 2:14-18)

This is probably the most important and spiritual of the three.  These are the works that flow involuntarily from the child of God that is truly growing in his faith. It is the work of faith that is most Christ-like.

For us to be perfected in our faith, with nothing lacking, we need to ensure we are perfect in all three works of faith.

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