An amazing feature of the Old Testament is that it was written by the Jews, and the Spirit of God guided prophets to write some amazing prophesies about a Messiah-Savior who would come in their future. But they gave some specifics about that time when the Messiah would come. Daniel interpreted a dream for the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, and the dream was of an image made of four metals. Daniel 2:32-33: “This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.” (NKJV)
The prophets often wrote about the coming Christ in the Old Testament. They explained His general characteristics, His mission, His plan, and even the way He would die and be raised from the dead. They wrote these prophecies down so that when the Messiah did come, God’s people could recognize Him. Also, by having these prophecies, God’s people could recognize a false messiah claiming to be the Christ. All God’s people had to do was compare that person with the credentials set forth by the prophets. Jesus Christ matched these credentials perfectly. If He had missed just one, there could be an argument made against Him for not being the Son of God.
As just established, the gospel is the power of God. It is the good news that Jesus died for us, was buried, and then raised. First, the Bible convicts us of our sins. Next, the gospel informs us that Jesus has created a way to forgive us of those sins. Our sins have ultimately separated us from God. While carrying the guilt of sin, we will never to be able to have a relationship with God.
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” (Is. 59:2)
How did Christianity survive even one day in Jerusalem? The leader, Jesus, had been crucified in Jerusalem before many witnesses. His tomb was guarded. There would be no possible way for the followers of Jesus to claim Jesus was God or the prophesied Messiah. A dead Jesus could only lead to one logical conclusion: He was not God, was not the Messiah, and believers were all wrong. With the tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem, the memory of his crucifixion still fresh, there is no way that the church of Christ could ever get started in that hostile environment. But, it did get started and it thrived because something powerful happened in that city.
A young man named Daniel was taken into captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar had just conquered the kingdom of Israel and Daniel was enslaved and sent to Babylon as spoils of war. Daniel knew that his life was going to become very difficult. However, Daniel had already “purposed in his heart” that he was going to serve God no matter the situation.
Daniel was to be trained to become a teacher and servant for the Babylonian nobles. He was trained by Ashpenaz who after some time would have to present Daniel to the king as a ready servant. Ashpenaz tried to feed Daniel food that would make him look as healthy as possible for the king. Unfortunately, Daniel could not eat the food given to him. Daniel, being a Jew living in the Old Testament, had to abstain from certain foods that were forbidden in the Law of Moses. Christians today are not under the Law of Moses, but Daniel was.
Because “all have sinned”(Rom.3:23) and the “wages of sin is death”(Rom.6:23), no one deserves to go to heaven. There is a way for us to go to heaven, but it will not be on the basis of our own merits. The means of getting to heaven will be through the forgiveness of sins offered in Jesus Christ.
He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”(John 14:6). Jesus came and died on a cross to give you the means of salvation from the condemnation your sins demanded. We earned our condemnation by sinning. But, how do we come to enjoy the salvation that Jesus wants us to enjoy?
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)
We crave the thought of being saved. Our favorite movies and TV shows are proof of that. We love watching men and woman being saved weekly by incredible heroes.
We need a mirror to examine our physical health and appearance. If there is something wrong in our appearance we can adjust the hair or brush the teeth, or we can deal with blemishes or see how to shave or apply makeup. Mirrors serve us well on a daily basis, but only if we DO something about what we see in the mirror.
“But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings . . . Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward” (Hebrews 10:32-35).
The Hebrew writer said that after his readers had become Christians they “endured a great struggle with sufferings.” But he encouraged them not to give up the great reward they were pursuing. “Do not cast away your confidence,” he said. The Hebrews needed to remember something we all need to remember: good things come at a price — and when the price begins to hurt, we have to recall the value of what we have gained.
”Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”(Psalm 27:14)
If eternity is in our hearts, that means we have a desire that can’t be fulfilled right now. And if this desire is, as I believe, our deepest desire, then our lack of fulfillment may be grievously felt. Whatever our hearts most truly need, they need it now, and the very depth of our longing means that its lack of satisfaction is painful. So the thought of waiting is, to many, an unwelcome thought.
Impatience is more of a problem than we like to admit. In its more trivial forms, it can be amusing, of course, but in more serious matters, impatience can be destructive to our spiritual lives. In a sense, impatience comes close to being the taproot of sin. It is a demanding attitude: it wants its own way and it wants it now. Impatience insists that everything be done on its own terms.