How We Can Pray For the World: Three Areas of Prayer

 

Just before Jesus ascended to heaven He told His disciples that as soon as He arrived He would send the Holy Spirit back to them.  Then He said, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (Jn. 16:8-11).

What does this all mean?  Well, let’s break it down.  Since Jesus has left, we know that the Holy Spirit has come.  And by this passage we know that He is now working to convict (or to convince) the people of this world of three things: of sin, righteousness, and of judgment.

 

SIN

He works to convict them of sin, Jesus said, “Because they do not believe in Me.”   Therefore, the work of the Holy Spirit, first of all, is to convict the world of their sin of not believing in Jesus—so that they will repent of their sin and believe.

 

RIGHTEOUSNESS

Secondly, it is the Holy Spirit’s work to convince sinners of righteousness, because Jesus ascended to His Father.  This is a difficult passage and commentators disagree on its meaning.  Many commentators say that the Holy Spirit seeks to convince people of the righteousness of Christ, and that He has proved His righteousness by His resurrection and ascension. Others emphasize that the Holy Spirit convicts people of their unrighteousness or self-righteousness because Jesus is no longer on the earth to do that job (while He was on earth He in fact went around convicting people of their self-righteousness).  Well, I think that both ideas are true.  He works to convict sinners of their unrighteousness, and He also works to convince them that Christ is the only righteous one, which He proved by His resurrection and ascension.  Furthermore, I believe that what the Holy Spirit tries to do is to convince sinners that the only way to be truly righteous is to believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.

 

JUDGEMENT

The last work of the Holy Spirit toward sinners is that He tries to convict (or to convince) them of the coming judgment for their sins.  He does this by showing them that the devil has already been cast down (Jn. 12:31) and that they too are doomed to the same fate if they don’t repent and believe in Jesus.

So this is what the Holy Spirit tries to do for sinners—so that ultimately they will be saved.  Notice I said that He tries to do these things.  What I mean is that He is limited in what he can do if we don’t pray.  Our prayers will make His job of convicting the world successful.  I really believe that to the degree that we pray for the Holy Spirit to convict the sinner and convince him to repent, to that degree it will happen.

 

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Who is the Holy Spirit? 5 Descriptions

 

There are several ways the Holy Spirit has been described in scripture.  Here are five descriptions:

As Wind

On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came suddenly as a “rushing mighty wind” (Acts 2:2-4).  This wind—the Holy Spirit—filled the whole house where believers were gathered together for prayer; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.  Thus we see that the Holy Spirit, just like the wind, is invisible, mighty, and awesome.  And even though we may be unaware of it, He still is moving all over the world.  He rushes in to fill and empower every heart that is prepared by prayer.  I believe He makes His presence especially powerful to those who gather together in one accord.

As Water

In John 4:13-15 and in John 7:37-39 we see that Jesus offers living water to all who thirst.  This living water in fact was and is the Holy Spirit.  He is described as such because we can take of His spirit and drink Him in as water, and He will powerfully move and flow in us as an artesian well that will never run dry and will satisfy and sustain us forever.

Water is also used to cleanse.  The scripture speaks of the water of the spirit of God who works out His cleansing power by the Word of God and by the blood of Christ (Eph. 5:26; Titus 3:5-6).  Thus the Holy Spirit is poured out as cleansing water on all that believe.  He works to make every dirty spot clean (Ezek. 39:29; Titus 3:6).

As Oil

Oil was used to keep the lamps burning in the holy place of the tabernacle so that the glories of Christ portrayed in the articles could be seen.  Therefore, the Holy Spirit, symbolized as burning oil, helps us to see the glories of Christ and lights the way to a closer walk with Him.

Oil is also used for food and for healing.  Thus the Holy Spirit will work in us as oil to sooth our pain, and also to satisfy our hunger for the things of God.

 As a Seal

In the New Testament the Holy Spirit is described as a seal of the believer’s redemption (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30).  This suggests to us that the Holy Spirit has been given to us to make us feel safe and secure—so that we know without a doubt that we are saved.

As a Dove

When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove (Jn. 1:32).  This description of the Holy Spirit is one of my favorites.  For with this vision of Him I know that He is gentle, pure, graceful and beautiful—which makes me feel at peace and quieted in my soul.  I love to gaze upon His beauty.  He is so pleasant to be near.

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Rejoicing in Tribulation

 

In this blog we will be talking about what we would call an extension of the last Beatitude (Matt. 5:10). It is a fuller description of the blessing God gives us when we are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.

Matthew 5:11-12

“Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. 12 “Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Here are four questions we will discuss and try to answer.

 

Who is the one who will be blessed for righteousness and who will rejoice in persecution?

This is a Christian who is very different than the non-Christian. That is, he acts like Jesus. He is kind, gentle, peaceable, loving, and caring.

This is a Christian who is controlled and dominated by Jesus Christ. He lives for Jesus and no longer for himself.

This is a Christian who constantly has his mind on heavenly things. He makes it a point to set his mind on things above and not on earthly things (Col 3:2). In this way he is very different than a non-Christian who does not want to think of what is to come. For what is to come for him is the wrath of God (Jn. 3:36).

 

How should the Christian face persecution?

The persecuted Christian must not retaliate. He should be like Jesus when he was persecuted who did not speak. Instead of fighting back we should instead rejoice and think of heaven—and God will bless you.  

The persecuted Christian must not feel resentment. Though his is wrongfully persecuted, he should think of Jesus and the prophets who were also wrongly persecuted; and they were rewarded.

The persecuted Christian must not be depressed. No, instead set your mind to be glad and to rejoice. It is up to you to decide to do this. God will help you.

The persecuted Christian must rejoice. Why? (1) Because our persecution is proof to us and to others that we are a Christian; (2) because we also have proof that being a Christian we are going to heaven. Yes, persecution should make us feel more heaven bound and closer to heaven. And (3) because we have real joy to come in heaven.

 

Is it right to rejoice in heavenly rewards to come?

Yes, and here are four reasons why:

1 Jesus did. He endured the cross for the joy that was before Him (Heb. 12:2).

2 Paul teaches it in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10-11.

3 Moses did. He chose to suffer affliction with the people of God because he had his eye upon the reward in the end.

4 We are to seek things above, where Christ is (Col. 3:1-2).

 

What is heaven like?

Heaven is to experience always the full love of God and Christ. And this, says Paul, is beyond our knowledge (Eph. 3:19). We can try to imagine what it will be like, but we will never be able to fully comprehend it.

 

 

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3 Reason Why There Will Never Be True Peace Between Israel and Muslim Nations

Pray for peace in the middle east and pray for Jews and Muslim to find true peace in Jesus.

Prayer for Trump and Country

 

There has been talk lately about peace initiatives between Israel and the Palestinians. But it will never work, and here is why:

1. All true Muslims reject Israel’s claim to their land promises by God. They say…

  • The original Bible (the word of God) was corrupted by devious Jews and Christians. Any parts that disagree with the Quran they say have been corrupted.
  • They say that the Arab nations through Ishmael are the rightful heirs to the promises made to Abraham.

2. According to Muslim law the Jewish occupation of Israel (gained in 1948) is illegitimate. Why? Because the land was once occupied by Muslims—Allah gave the land to them. And according to Islamic law, “Any territory that was at some time ‘opened’ by a legitimate Islamic authority cannot revert to a non-Islamic authority.” Therefore, they say that by that law of Allah the land cannot be allowed…

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Putrid water

Seeing God in Nature

Don’t let the old self corrupt and putrefy your inner being. Lay aside the old self and put on the new self–and feel the fresh water of His Spirit flow through you (from Eph. 4:22-24; Jn. 7:38).

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Blessed Are They Which Are Persecuted For Righteousness Sake

 

This is the eighth and last beatitude, and the one that really caps off all of them. That is, it brings a result to all of them and helps us to face the world with strength and hope. Verse 10 (of Matthew 5) is the main part of beatitude, and then verses 11 and 12 seem to be an extension of it. We will focus on the main part in this blog. Here are four points.

 

What kind of persecution is the Christian blessed for?

The answer is plain. It must be a persecution for righteousness sake. He will be blessed by God for being righteous—like Jesus.

There are other reasons one may be persecuted, but none of them will be rewarded with a blessing by God. For instance, one may be persecuted for a lack of wisdom. Secondly, one may be over-zealous in his Christianity and he may be criticized for it—rightly. Or one may be persecuted for a political cause, or for a social cause. And some causes are very good. But if your cause is not for righteousness sake, the blessing here will not cover you.

 

Why Christians are persecuted

What I want to do here is to take a look at the nature of persecution so that we understand better why someone will persecute another. Here are two basic reasons.

  • Christians are persecuted because they are different. It is only natural for people to feel uncomfortable with people who are different than they are, especially if they appear to be better or happier than they are. So when they see this in others, they get jealous of them and feel put down by them. So they strike out at them.
  • More basically, it has to do with light and darkness. A true Christian is full of light because Jesus is light. Since light exposes the darkness (and sin), all who live in darkness hate the light (and those Christians who live in the light). Hence, a non-Christian naturally hates a Christian just as he, or she, hates Jesus.

 

Who are the persecutors?

You may be surprised by this, but not only non-Christians are the persecutors. Even Christians will sometimes persecute another Christian. Why? Because not all Christians are living in the light. If a Christian is holding on to certain sins, knowingly or unknowingly, this may be a great hindrance to fellowship, and therefore, bitterness and fighting may result.

 

What is the blessed results of persecution?

First of all, when we are persecuted, it will tend to unite us with Jesus and with other believers—especially with those who have also been persecuted.

Secondly, our persecution will become a sign that we are truly a Christian, thus it will give us great assurance that we are united with Christ and the body of Christ.

A third blessing is our great hope of future rewards in heaven. This is part of the subject of my next blog.

 

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Blessed Are The Peacemakers

 

We who are Christians are all called by God to be peacemakers. Unfortunately, only some heed the call. Happily, those who do heed the call are truly blessed by God. Why? For one, because they are obedient to His call and He rewards them for it. But the main reason they are blessed, I would say, is in the next phrase: “…for they shall be called sons (or children) of God.” Hence, if we are obedient to our call as peacemaker, we will receive a real sense of being a child of God, so much so that we may sense Him calling us His child. What a bless that is!

 

What Kind of a Person is a Peacemaker?

First, a peacemaker must be a person who has a desire for peace and to bring peace to people.

Secondly, He sees the need for peace and sees how it will come to us. He sees that all people should be at peace—with God and with each other. Then, he understands that men cannot have peace without getting a new heart; for sin comes out of the heart and will destroy peace. Accordingly, the peacemaker understands that a heart conversion is the only way to obtain peace.  It cannot be obtained by manipulation of the personality. One can spend thousands of dollars on professional counselors to help change one’s personality, but that will not bring real, lasting peace. Likewise, leaders have tried to bring peace to the world through the League of Nations, and through the United Nations, and through other means, but no one can manipulate or force man into peace. Peace must come from a changed heart.

Thirdly, a peacemaker must himself have a pure heart and be selfless. He must be meek—selfless and totally dedicated to God.

 

How To Practice Peacemaking

Here are four tips:

  1. Learn not to speak. You must be absolutely selfless and a listener more than a talker.
  2. Bring the gospel to people. The only way to bring someone peace is by gospel conversion. He must be saved and have a new heart (Eph. 6:15).
  3. Go out of your way to bring peace. In your dealings with people show pity for them and pray for them.
  4. Be selfless, loving, and approachable.

 

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