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How God Uses Ordinary People

Throughout the entire Bible, God has not chosen from the religious establishment or even the assumed religious elite when He selected individuals to perform or accomplish extraordinary things for Him. Quite to the contrary, He chose what everyone then, and now, would assume to be the worst possible choice for the various jobs.
Going all the way back into the Old Testament, God chose Abram (later to become Abraham)to be the father of many nations, including His chosen nation of Israel(Genesis 17:1-27), in spite of him having lied on two separate occasions about Sarah being his sister rather than his wife.(Genesis 12:13-17, 20:2-11) Moses, who was actually on the run for murder at the time(Ex. 2:11-12) and was self professed to not be a good orator(Ex. 4:10), was still chosen to speak for God to confront Pharaoh and deliver the Nation of Israel out of the land of Egypt. Although he was ultimately punished for disobedience by not being allowed to enter the land of Canaan(Num 20:8-12), He is still credited as being the deliver of Israel, God‘s chosen person for the delivery of the Law, and through the inspiration of God, the writer of the Pentateuch, which are the first 5 books of the Old Testament. David, who was referred to as a man after God’s own heart, was a murderer and an adulterer (II Samuel 11:2-27). Despite this, God chose to enter into the Davidic Covenant with him (II Samuel 7:8-17), which insured that a king in the line of David would rule forever. This was ultimately fulfilled by Christ. Also Rahab, who was a prostitute (Joshua 2:1-21), had the lives of her and her family spared due to her faith and belief. She was even included in the lineage of Christ. (Matthew 1:5)
In the New Testament, when Jesus began to select the men who would become His Apostles, he did not go to the Pharisees, the Sadducees, or even the High Priest, but chose at least four fisherman, a tax collector, and a political zealot who wanted to overthrow the Roman government. None of these chosen to walk with the Lord were scholars or theologians, but were simply ordinary men that God used to become the instruments by which Christ’s message was carried to the ends of the earth. Simon, who later was called Peter(the Rock), was bold, brash, and often outspoken. Jesus referred to him by his former name of Simon when he was acting like his old self, or his new name Peter when he was reflecting the lessons that he had learned being at Jesus‘s side. In the same chapter he was blessed with the keys to the kingdom and referred to as Satan by Jesus.(Matthew 16) He claimed he could never deny his Lord, yet did so three times before the end of the night with cursing and betrayal.(Matthew 26) In spite of all this, God used Peter as the founder(the Rock) that the Church would be built on. He preached the sermon at Pentecost in which over 3000 people were saved (Acts 2), was the leader of the Apostles, and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote the books of First and Second Peter in the New Testament. Paul,(formerly known as Saul) was a persecutor of the Church who went house to house throwing Christians in prison(Acts 8:3). He was present at the stoning of Steven (Acts 7:58), so he was at least an accomplice to murder, and yet after his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19), he became the Apostle to the Gentiles. God used him to start countless Churches, give testimony in front of governors and kings, and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he was the author of no less than 13 books in the New Testament.
How were these ordinary men able to accomplish such extraordinary deeds? Through submitting to God, scripture, and to the teachings and Lordship of Jesus Christ. By realizing their own personal state of spiritual bankruptcy(we cannot accomplish anything apart from the grace of God), and humbling themselves before God, He was able to mold and use them as the vessels that accomplished His will. (James 4:6-10) None of us are righteous (Romans 3:10-12)or without sin (I John 1:8-10). Paul called himself chief among sinners (I Timothy 1:15) and acknowledged that as long as he lived in the flesh that he would continue to sin (Romans 8:14-25). However, once we have been chosen by God and become the children of God (I John 3:1, II Corinthians 6:18), we become new creatures (II Corinthians 5:17). We have been justified in the eyes of God and “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins”(I John 2:1-2). Jesus paid the debt for all of our past, present, and future sins at the cross. This never has to be done again, but we are still obligated to strive to overcome our sin nature (I John 3:6-8). We are able to do this because “greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world” (I John 4:4) Our personal responsibility lies in changing our way of thinking. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”(Romans 12:2) This is accomplished by walking in the Spirit rather than walking in the flesh (Gal. 5:16-25, Rom. 8:4) While we will always fail to completely do this until we ultimately receive our glorified bodies, that doesn’t relieve us of the obligation to consistently try (Romans 6:15-19) A favorite saying of mine is that is not necessarily the road that you are on at the moment, but the direction that your life is headed that matters. I think we can all agree that a change in our culture and society is needed, so in summation I will quote Galatians 5:22 which says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Submit yourself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and see what sort of extraordinary plans he has for your life!

Brian Belser

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Repentance

It is not in vogue in the 21st century to preach a gospel that demands repentance. Shallow preaching of easy believism and cheap grace does not go well with repentance.
John the Baptist was the first prophet in over 400 years and the first word of his first sermon was Repent. Matthew 3:2.
Jesus first sermon, Matthew 4:17, repent. Mark 1:14-15, repent and believe. Matthew 11:20, the cities did not repent. Luke 5:32, Jesus said He came to call sinners to repentance. Luke 13:3-5, Jesus said “unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Luke 24:47, Jesus sent disciples out to proclaim “repentance for forgiveness of sins”.
Peter preached repent in Acts 2:38 and Acts 3:19.
Paul preached repentance in Acts 17:30, Acts 20:21, and Acts 26:19-20.
In the book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 we have the seven letters to the churches. In five of the seven letters the church is commanded to repent.
This is not all the references to the preaching of repentance but it certainly is a good representation of the preaching of Jesus , John, and the apostles that repentance is a central part of the gospel message.

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How can a man be in the right before God?

This could be the most important question ever asked or answered.  Job 4:17 ask the question a different way, “can mankind be just before God?

The answer is yes but we have to come God’s way.  Jonah 2:9 “salvation is from the Lord”.

Sin has separated us from God and only God can reconcile us to Himself.

When we were dead in our transgressions God made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).

A couple of verses farther on in Ephesians verse 8 of chapter 2 : For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

I Corinthians 1:30  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.

In the gospel of John, Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life no one comes to the Father but through Me).