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Luke 22: The setting: Jesus has been taken to the courthouse of the high priest and is undergoing the trial which will end in his being condemned to death. Peter, one of his disciples, followed along and sat among the onlookers. Three times someone identified him as being one of Jesus's disciples, and each time Peter denied it. At the third time, Jesus turned around and looked at Peter, and he suddenly remembered that Jesus had told him he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed. "Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, 'Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.' But Peter said, 'Man, I do not know what you are saying!' Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, 'Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.' So Peter went out and wept bitterly." Luke 22:55 What is the difference between Peter and Judas? Judas, also one of the twelve disciples, had gone to the authorities and betrayed Jesus to them. So both were guilty of denying the Lord. They both sinned the same sin. So what's the difference? Here's the difference. When Peter realized he had denied the Lord, he went out "and wept bitterly." He realized his sin and was sorry to the very heart, engulfed with shame and regret. Judas, on the other hand, went out and committed suicide. The Scriptures show that Peter was forgiven, but that Judas died and went to hell. Maybe you've done something that you think is unforgivable. Maybe your whole life up to this point has been a life of evil. Maybe you've hurt others deeply. You have to know that there IS forgiveness in Christ. You CAN be forgiven. In fact, that's exactly why Jesus was crucified - he was crucified IN YOUR PLACE. He has taken your judgment upon himself. So you have a choice: either give up entirely and lose your life and go to hell as Judas did, or repent as Peter did and come humbly to the Lord with bitter tears asking for his forgiveness. If you do, you will be received. The blood of Jesus will cleanse you from ALL unrighteousness. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9 Pray like this: Father God, I am so covered with sin that I've thought you could never forgive me. There has been a lot of evil in my life, but now I'm hearing that it's possible to obtain forgiveness from you. I'm hearing that the judgment upon my sins has already been taken - by Jesus himself who bore my guilt and carried my sins to the Cross. I pray and ask you to forgive me. I receive your Word which says you will cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness. I bow before you this day and ask you to become my Savior and my Lord. From this day on, my life is yours. I give over to you all that I am, and all that I will be, you are the Lord of my life. Even if I don't understand it completely, I thank you for the Crucifixion of your Son and the atonement he provided for me. Receive me Lord Jesus, I believe. More About Salvation: Born Again - What Does That Mean, Really?

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate;" Matthew 23:37-38 The Jews had no excuse to reject the Messiah. Never before or after had anyone else healed the sick, cast out demons, even raised the dead. His fame went throughout the whole land and was known everywhere. People were so astonished that they came from everywhere just to see Lazarus whom Jesus had raised from the dead. "Now a great many of the Jews knew that he was there, and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead." John 12:9 Yet the end they rejected Jesus. For that, they lost their Temple, they lost their land, and were dispersed throughout the world for more than 2,000 years. Let's apply this to this generation. This generation is also without excuse. The Gospel has been preached in every city, in churches, on tv, over the internet, and there are hundreds of thousands of testimonies of the power of God changing lives. And ...the signs of "the last days" are all before us. It's as clear as can be. The restoration of Israel is the greatest of the signs. Israel was re-established as a nation on May 14, 1948, and since then her Jewish population has burgeoned to over seven million living in the land, and that number is growing daily as the Lord continues his program of the restoration of Israel. After 2,000 years! In addition to that, all the signs Jesus spoke of that would indicate the time of the end are here. Wars, rumors of war, earthquakes, famine, pestilence (diseases), they're all here. Some say, "oh there have always been those things." Yes, each generation has had its great war or great earthquake, etc, but never have these things all taken place TOGETHER. All of them, in this one generation. That they point to the time of the end is unmistakable. If the penalty for rejecting the Messiah meant loss of everything for more than 2,000 years for the Jews, what will the penalty be for rejection of Jesus Christ now, after all he has done to make himself known? Their loss was temporary because God had made an everlasting covenant with their fathers. But the only covenant made with the gentiles (us) is the covenant Jesus establishes with all who receive him and are born again. The loss to those who do not receive him ...will be eternal. "Then he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Matthew 26:27-28 The blood of Jesus was shed for "many" ...not for all. Those who do not come into the covenant established in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will be eternally lost. That's why those who are under that covenant spend themselves so earnestly for others, that all whom they can reach might know and understand the Gospel. And what IS the Gospel? It's the story of the redeeming of fallen mankind. All have been born in a fallen human nature, and all are sinners. All. “There is none righteous, no, not one," (Romans 3:10). The penalty of sin is death and hell. But Jesus Christ came to this earth and took upon himself the guilt and penalty due each sinner. He died for us, and he descended to hell for us. Anyone who will receive him is cleansed from sin, and sin's penalty will never touch the believer, he is given eternal life. If you understand this, then you will understand why there is no other way of salvation. The sin issue was dealt with by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, and not by any other. Those following other "gods" or religions remain in their sin. The leaders of those religions did not, could not, bear the guilt of their followers. Come to Jesus now, don't waste any more time. You do not know that you'll even live out this day. The door is about to close as the great Tribulation is so obviously about to begin. Come now. Surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and be cleansed from sin and kept by him for all eternity. MORE: Who Is Jesus Christ? What Does "Born Again" Mean?

"And do not PRESENT your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." Romans 6:13 But how to get there .... Do not PRESENT yourself. Sin comes when we present ourselves to it. We choose what we read, where we go, with whom we associate. These are free-will choices. If you're an alcoholic, it's your free choice to go or not to go to a bar. If pornography beckons you, it is your choice whether or not to go there. If you find yourself weak when you're with friends, it's your choice whether to continue going with them, or not. It's all about choice. If you want to be clean, if you care to please God, it will be up to you to remove from your life those things to which you easily fall. He won't do it for you, it's always going to be your choice. You may not have a choice in what your weakness is, but you do have a choice whether to tempt yourself with it. Do not present yourself… vs 16: "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?" If you are a SLAVE to a certain sin, the message of the Gospel is that Christ will set you free if you surrender to him, for our Redeemer will not leave us slaves. It's important to remember that you cannot do it yourself, only HE can set you free. But first, you have to surrender to him. Surrender means asking him to change you and then COOPERATING with him as he leads you through deliverance, and at times that cooperation can be painful. Accept that. If your doctor prescribed a necessary but painful surgery, you'd accept that. Accept whatever circumstances God chooses to bring you to healing and deliverance. Obedience is almost always painful. It involves choosing to go against our own will when Christ bids us to. If he tells the alcoholic to never again go into a bar, the power of the temptation may be very painful to avoid. If he tells you to get rid of your computer if porn is your weakness, do it. If he asks you to stop associating with certain friends, the decision to part ways with those friends can be very painful indeed. The follower of Jesus Christ must keep his eyes on the prize, knowing that in every act of obedience there is going to be a blessing beyond all expectation. Ask any believer who has been delivered from evil by the Lord, and not one of them will express anything but utter relief and thanksgiving, and shudder at the very thought of going back to what they were delivered from. They wouldn't trade their freedom for anything in the world. vs 21: "What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death." No good can come from sin. It's always going to end in destruction. Satan lures with pleasure, but he never tells you the price tag. Sin fascinates, then it assassinates. It thrills, then it kills. It will take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you were willing to pay. -Adrian Rogers Sin is deception. Yes, it thrills ...but it kills. And ...sin is NEVER satisfied. Obedience on the other hand, though painful, brings a sense of well-being, establishes one in faith, brings the pleasure of feeling God's approval, and results in joy and peace and love and in all things good. Make the right choice, it only hurts for awhile. Being right with God brings joy forever.

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