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Todd Hampson (Revelation) Jonathan Cruse (Living in Christ)

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June 23, 2021 4:00 am

Todd Hampson (Revelation) Jonathan Cruse (Living in Christ)

Janet Mefferd Today / Janet Mefferd

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June 23, 2021 4:00 am

The Book of Revelation can be an intimidating read, yet its prophecy and practical truths are important to understand. Todd Hampson helps guide us as we talk about his book, "The Non-Prophet's Guide to the Book of Revelation." Plus: Pastor Jonathan Landry Cruse discusses what it means to be in Christ. We'll discuss his book, "The Christian's True Identity." That's next time on the Wednesday's edition of JANET MEFFERD TODAY

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This archived broadcast of Janet Mefford today is brought to you by Liberty healthcare Liberty healthcare is a nonprofit healthcare sharing ministry that allows you to control and manage your own healthcare and choose any doctor or hospital in the nation.

If your freedom loving American looking for contract free healthcare call now 855-585-4237 or go to liberty healthcare.org/GMT for more information liberty healthcare.org/GMT Janet River today. Our confidence is in Christ alone is the word of God says that Sawyer and yet the final book in the New Testament is full of prophecy and practical truths that can be understood. Sometimes it just takes a creative approach to breakthrough all the confusion and that is exactly what my next guest has done Todd Hampson as an author and illustrator and founder of the award-winning animation company Timbuk2 owns and he is out with a new book called the nonprofits guide to the book of Revelation. Great to have you with us. How are you doing great. It's an honor to be on your written well, it's not for me to have you here.

This is a little bit daunting isn't it to try to make Revelation accessible that's that's quite a chore that you're doing here really do a lot of it comes from my local Bible prophecy of my love for the times when that were in an object.

We were given a talk on the phone, but his return assumes I wanted to make it accessible to anybody and I'm a visual learner myself and about artist background, so I wanted to plug as much about it as possible just to kind of disarm it and make it accessible to people yet.

It's great and I know I can't do this over the radio, but you cut some great illustrations and charts and it's very visually appealing as well as full of really good information little bit if you would talk about your concerns really regarding people being intimidated by the book of Revelation or maybe neglecting it because they feel they can't really figure it out or not I did it for you. A complex book little bit of elbow grease to figure some of it out but I do also believe that the enemy has done a tremendous job and just making people think it's either irrelevant or inaccessible or too scary or too hard for us to figure out what the crescendo of Scripture is a good not not putting the book of Revelation be like going to the movies I'm leaving before the ending is right is Bart that's right and you point out something really significant and that is the bookends of the Bible clearly are Genesis and Revelation that you've also got books like Daniel which are very significant when we are pointing forward to the prophecy that is in Revelation, can you talk a little bit about that thread that connects throughout the whole Bible regarding prophecy literally not effective for this book, I had a book called the nonprofits got to the end times, which is basically an overview of Bible prophecy, and in that book. I have a whole chapter on the book of Daniel and Anna talk about how when I talk about it a little bit in this book about how Daniel is kind of the framework that Revelation fits in it, did the revelation of the Old Testament, so to speak, and then really Revelation is a Jewish book. You really can't under one of the reasons people are so confused by it because they've never studied the Old Testament all the illusions all the symbolism, Todd immediately back to the Old Testament that is a really good point. Can you talk a little bit more about that can kinda explain to people the fact that Revelation is a Jewish book.

What sorts of things do you encounter in the book of Revelation that you can really understand more clearly. If you understand the Jewishness of the of you know these references really important. A lot of times the symbolism is given to you in the context like in chapter 1 of Revelation when the lampstand Jesus actually says the lampstands are the churches that represent the church. But in the 404 and I'm sorry that you have the 404 verses of Revelation. There is over 800 direct allusions to the Old Testament so really it honestly what I tell people with if you see a symbol or word in Revelation.

Revelation a trip you up. Just look it up in the Old Testament find its first use of some of its primary uses and you'll immediately find your answer there, that's great. You point out that Revelation 13 has this promise that is unlike any other promise in Scripture.

Maria Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it because the time is near what you make of that promise. What you make of that statement and the really that the power of that statement that we read right at the beginning of the book yeah and I don't think that a coincidence that there is Jesus saying that that you know the only promise in the Bible as far as I know that you were looking about to have a promise like that. And again. It's no coincidence that it's the same book that the enemy is is really doing his level best to get people's lives off of yeah that's right what should people understand going into the book of Revelation. If you have new Christians were listening to say or even older Christians who are ashamed to say have never really read the book of Revelation, it seems too intimidating with the beasts in the season all the imagery that you characterize what the book of Revelation is supposed to be all about when you especially when we look at Revelation 13 and its reference to prophecy at its core. One thing it is good to prophecy so I interpreted that feeling when you can consistently interpret the entire Bible from cover to cover, is that the literal interpretation, it means what you know so in Revelation yes there symbolism when he's talking about the events that are to take place them in the characters that are to come on the screen. These are literal things are not metaphorical but they're very literal and can be understood much easier that way, and much more quickly because if we symbolize things are allegorizing we we put our own meeting into it and how to lose its meaning and I think that's why becomes irrelevant because if it can mean anything to anybody than this, loss of community you're totally right about that and I remember having somebody say to me years ago when we have the prophecies in the Old Testament there all fulfilled in the New Testament, but the reason we know that is because we can go back to the prophecies in their exact note foreseeing that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem or they'd enter Jerusalem on a donkey and all these different references to prophecies in the Old Testament so what would you say are the most significant prophecies that we should pay attention to in the book of Revelation you future. I think it what were saying a lot of stage setting for the future events. Now one thing that really got my attention and take a bit of work but the seven letters to the seven churches. A lot of times people just breeze over those because they want to get to the action scenes of destruction split. Really those of the most relevant to us today in the church age and also if you study this carefully, initially blew my mind and at first I was skeptical till I studied it for myself is the seven church churches listed are they were literal churches, but they also the descriptions lined up with seven distinct periods of church history and we are in that last period of church history so the prophecies were looking for in my opinion and I friends that are mid triple poster, but I happen to be a preacher of the I believe that that the tradition happened prior to all these events foreseeing the stage being set for all these things now whether it's in a one world economy or the technology that spoken about the book Revelation or the condition of the societal and religious can convict to mixed conditions.

All that stuff were seeing in our day ramp-up like no other time in history yet so you would believe then that the seven churches of Asia minor that Jesus is dictating letters to summer rebuked some are commanded there is no some mixes. There are some or both of both Bermuda and commend about the players a prophetic significance than you're saying. These were literal churches that had these literal rebukes and commendations.

But there's also a forward-looking element is so where are we, would you say when you look at those letters and you look at those churches what what is the correlation between that period of time that were in now for brevity.

I will give you all seven but just the last to the church of Philadelphia in the church later to see you Philadelphia if you look at the symbolism of the May meeting and even the commendations. It was the missionary aim evangelical on fire church that was spreading the gospel everywhere in the Laodicean church is the end times church which I believe were now where that there still elements the story remnant of Philadelphia churches is not an all-encompassing thing, but the overall trajectory of where we are now church history is really the lukewarm church.

The church that the term Leo to see it means the laity war, the laity, dictate what the church is preaching about that a lot.

Rather than being transformative.

A lot of times now churches are are afraid to offend people, and in this kind of thing… And there's a great falling away. There's there's a lot of air in the church in our day as well.

Notice that myself really absolutely somewhat is the Lord's warning to us if we to look at his rebuke to the church of Laodicea. We blessed left our first love. Basically telling us come back to the Lord returned to our first love and and have that warm heart toward the Lord that we once did. Yeah what's really interesting if you look at again. There's a progression to all seven but just taking the Philadelphia church in the Laodicean church.

Jesus said to the Philadelphia church. You know it.

If you do these things all return and put them in the Laodicean church is as I stand at the door and knock it out of fear that means he will salvation so that our hearts are hard of heart and trying to get in the sand that door churches trying to get in for people willing to receive them, but also I believe that progression is prophetic pilot picking up on the other side of the break Todd Hansen with me will return right after this effort did you miss the deadline to sign up for your program. At the end of 2020. If so, I have good news special enrollment period is taking place now through August 15, meaning that if you're looking to enroll in the new healthcare program for 2021 you can do so without the need for a qualifying event more than 200,000 Americans trust liberty healthcare for their healthcare needs.

Liberty healthcare is a nonprofit healthcare sharing ministry that offers affordable healthcare sharing programs starting as low as $199 per month. Liberty healthcare gives you the ability to choose any doctor or hospital across the nation. Memberships are for individuals, couples and families offering a variety of options to best suit your medical needs. Discover more about the power of sharing@libertyhealthcare.org/JMP today for more information call 855-585-4237 855-585-4237 liberty healthcare.org/JMP this is Janet Mefford on a 100° day in Ethiopia Africa. Hundreds gathered for Sunday worship outdoors, and some walked in our to be there afterward 30-year-old caveman frantically copied Scriptures from an old Bible to a piece of paper.

Then his face turned sad as he close the Bible and handed it back to its owner, one of only a few in that church of hundreds to have a Bible you see came and loves the Lord leads his family and his faithful at Sunday worship, but he's never read a single verse in his own Bible because Bibles are very difficult to obtain, where he lives with our way through the ministry of Bible league international you can send God's word to a new believer in Africa five dollars since one Bible $50 sends 10 call 800 yes word 800 YESWORD 800 yes word where there's a banner to click@janetmefford.com thank you you're listening to Janet Mefford today and here's Jeff. Welcome back. What an important book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. It can be intimidating, but this is prophecy we need to know the book of Revelation we need to read it and study it and we can learn what the Lord is trying to tell us as we go through it and there's a great resource to help you do that, it's called the nonprofits guide to the book of Revelation Bible prophecy for everyone by Todd Hampson are gas Todd when you were talking about the letters to the seven churches in Asia minor were also saying there was a prophetic significance to the Lord's words because we are in the end times now. When you get to Revelation chapter 4 we read of the church in heaven and you talk about the connection now with the rapture after these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven and the first voice which I heard like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me said come up here and I will show you what must take place after these things and immediately I was in the spirit.

John says, and behold, a throne was standing in heaven and one standing on the throne. How do you see Revelation 4 is connecting back to some of the previous passages regarding the rapture of the church that the question we do seven letters to the seven churches in its prophetic context, church history leading up to the 70th week of Daniel nine which you will have time to unpack all that but in the book of Daniel talks about 70 weeks of years and there of Jewish history in the last seven years are yet future and that that lines up with the seven year tribulation. I personally believe the opening verse of the chapter for Revelation is deftly the rapture to symbolism as they are near the open door is called up to heaven and then also there's things that support that like the lampstands that work that Jesus said were the churches that were seen on earth now. From that point forward in and have are in heaven's throne room and also you use the word church several times in the chapters proceeding chapter 4 but after that the term churches never use in the book of Revelation and the focus shifts to winning the Jewish people back to the Lord and also just judging the world for its rebellion and that's a really significant point. I don't know how long I went without recognizing what you just said but yeah it wasn't too long ago that I said you know that's really true. I hadn't thought about it that way, but the church there is that the church is mentioned to a limit and then it's all about you know the Jewish people coming back and and God's plan for Israel which is really significant out as you mentioned in the book the connection with the Satanists you call it Satan's three-part falling creations three-part redemption.

Can you explain that you report all obviously when he rebelled.

Initially he was, he lost citizenship to heaven, so to speak, but when you read the Old Testament, particularly the book of Job, you see where he still had access to heaven's throne room. It's almost like a weird spiritual legal configuration like art is kicked out, but he can still come to these meetings and then but then we find later in the midpoint of the tribulation. He literally and now he is called the prince of the power the year so he has freedom to Roman, his domain right now were living in a in a foreign land so to speak but in the midpoint of the tribulation he literally cast down to earth and that's when you know if the first half of the jubilation was bad. The second half is 10 times as bad as he is bowing for he knows his time to shorten images for wrath. Yeah, that's right, third and final part of. Eventually after the millennial kingdom. He is finally cast into the lake of fire will help cool you will be punished eternally right. So when were looking at all that transpires to think for the tub. For example, of the trumpet judgments and all of the chapters in Revelation that deal with you know who you talk about Revelation 6 to 19 are few parenthetical chapters in between. But this is all about the tribulation.

With a focus on Israel. What is significant about that. Can you explain why that matters for Christians to understand. You absolutely and honestly I think that another one of things that hurts people up and people now because we don't study the Old Testament that much and so many churches have taught that the church has replaced Israel that we were grafted in word were blessed because of them. But God's plan for Israel is not pleased. There are there are a ton of unconditional promises in the Old Testament. Better yet future that have never been fulfilled that better fulfilled in the millennial kingdom and beyond.

But God is not done with the people of Israel and even in the New Testament. If you read Romans nine through 11.

It is abundantly clear. God is not done with the Jewish people there. Still, his chosen people now 101. Personally, they still need to receive the Lord of the Savior to be saved but his promises to the literal land of Israel. The literal you know city of Jerusalem and the people of Israel, especially the fact that he says one day all Israel will be saved and that's really what most of the tribulation is about winning them back to himself. Amazing. So when we are talking about living in the end times and certainly when you go back to the apostles.

They also believe they were living in the end times, but it's different now are a lot farther down the road of history where would you say that we are. Nobody knows for sure when the Lord will return its imminent.

We never know when the Lord will come back and where do you think we are. When you look at some of the high points and prophecy. When we talk about the rebuilding of the temple and a lot of these things in Revelation and throughout Scripture where are we on the timeline. Would you say or could you even say it with any certainty where we are 100% weakened because not to the day of our undergraduate mentioned that we should never set dates or anything like that right have egg on your face every time. And Scripture says no man knows the day of the hour, but every Old Testament prophet, except for Jonah predicted that Israel would become a nation again in the last days, and all end times prophecy past has to have Israel in their land again in control of Jerusalem again and then it says all these other sign categories will ramp up like birth pains.

So in other words, the super sign is Israel becoming a nation again method that's a miracle of God opening only God could pull that off you and that's a foundational necessity to any end time events to take place so personally I think were where I think the Lord's return is imminent, like you said believers have thought that different degrees throughout the ages, but we have even more reasonably that now with Israel in the land again and everything as we study Scripture all the end time stuff with even the stuff with Iran and in Russia and everything like that right now all of that is screaming that we are just barreling towards the Lord's return. It would seem so it would seem self and yet I I think people sometimes will become anxious though say well what are we gonna be in an age where we have chips put in our wrists and so forth, and we can buy or sell it's the number the beast one pack that sort of that sort of questioning where it where Christians say well what what will we experience and and what should we be looking for that clearly we need to be faithful to the Lord. No matter what.

But when we look at Revelation how much of that will I go through is a Christian. That's a great question and always preface the answer to that with the fact that this is a secondary issue is not a salvation issue. So good Christians disagree on on the timing of some of these events, but my my personal conviction is that from cover to cover. It supports a pre-tribulation rapture. In other words, we we are, we will experience the rapture will be taken out here rescued before God's day of the Lord before the rest falls in and God consistently shows that whether it's with the floater with lot major for his character term to rescue his people before judgment falls. But again, good Christians disagree on some of them believe that that rapture will happen at the midpoint and will go through some of the tribulation. In that case they would see the Antichrist rise to power and in some of these other things. But that's not my conviction.

I think it's clear were out of here before then. So I think what will experience as we approach the time is just the speed setting for all seeing society meltdown seeing people believe crazy things and start to do crazy things missing violence increase in wars. Wars and rumors of wars. Matthew 24, 21, all the discourse it talks about all these birth pain fines leading up to and into the tribulation. So we'll see all that ramping up. Honestly, I see it now. In my personal conviction.

Even today I was praying this morning I was thinking my focus needs to shift away from what I'm seeing happened in the world and into understanding what's really going on behind the scenes and knowing that the Lord's return as soon that's such a good hope in other words, you know, I'm so glad that you said that because he wants to live on the razors edge of fear all the time waiting our God is not a God of fear and we should trust him etc. so you know, one of the things when you talk about what's going on in the news right now.

Certainly in the last several years, the persecution of Christians around the world has really ramped up.

How does that fit into Bible prophecy. Another spatial event in Matthew 24 birthday that you will be thrown in prison, you will be persecuted whole 9 yards and yet there are more Christians being persecuted and martyred now than any other time in history and also write along with that anti-Semitism lot size on all these are our and confines and end just to go back to reinforce what I said about having hope to mention that as we see the world how to fall apart.

We need to remember that God is God's hand to fill Mr. Will this is all part of his plan. We may have to face in touch tough times we may have to face persecution in some countries. What you said even martyrdom. But we can still live with hope we can still one thing it gets her eyes off of the world and were supposed to be one him and when eternal things. This is were just passing through on Bobby 49 later this year so I'm I'm speaking more about that time that I ever have before and I just want to live it all out for him and leave everything on the field, so to speak is really here short time to live with hope and joy. I'm single. I do see that that's exactly how I look at it. You're right older you get, the more you look at it that way and you say, my home is ultimately with the Lord.

I'm going home. You know in this world is just you were an earthly tense right now. But one day we will be with the Lord and whether in our rapture, whether or not we die and then he resurrects us. Everything points to our future hope and this is I mean, in essence, this is the whole point of the book of Revelation is to have give us hope, no matter where we are on the spectrum of history, you could distill the whole book of Revelation down into two words we win that no celebratory fantastic. And it blows my mind out so many believers are no shy away from studying it so much hope and joy. Yes, there's instruction in there but it got its fair God is righteous, he setting things straight.

He's he's making everything right that's ever been wrong and that's what it's all about. It really is my favorite words in Revelation 22 the Lord, saying, behold I am coming quickly marinara thing you know he's going to come back to come, Lord Jesus. It said that that is why you really need to read the book of Revelation like never before. And what a great book to have alongside as you do call the nonprofits guide to the book of Revelation by Todd Hansen was so good happy with this. Thank you very very much like what I take care and God bless you. This archived broadcast of Janet for today is brought to you by Liberty health share liberty health chair is a nonprofit healthcare sharing ministry that allows you to control and manage your own healthcare and choose any doctor or hospital in the nation. If your freedom loving American looking for contract free healthcare call now 855-585-4237 or go to liberty, health share.org/GMT for more information liberty health chair.org/GMT Medford today and here's your host Joe Mefford back on these days. Identity is a big deal. You might have noticed, we have identity politics, we have the crazy invention of gender identity, but the madness points to a reality and that's that each of us wants to know who we really are and for us as Christians, we have the answer. Our identity is in Jesus Christ as Colossians 33 reminds as for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. But what should we understand about finding a lasting and fulfilling identity in the Lord. That's all really talk about today with Jonathan Landry Cruz. He is pastor of community Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and also a published author and he's out with a book or to be talking about called the Christians true identity. What it means to be in Christ, Jonathan, it's so great to have you with us today. How are you I'm doing great thank you Mike for having me on the program. It's nice to have you here what you say, this question of identity matters so much. Yeah, that is kind of that million dollar question. Why are we talking about it or talk about and down II think it is an important question and that the reason is because God has instilled with within us a desire to find out who we are so so will be seeing culture. We see going on in the discussions in identity politics and anything that you mentioned in the introduction, there that that's humanity, getting it kind of what they were made to take it after answering question. I got its place within our heart.

Who am I and in such an important question to get right. Because really the difference between heaven and hell yeah it's such a difference is that when you look at people in the world who are seeking self identification, and it's all about me me me and digging into my own. This in my own that I come up with my truth. It's a completely different process when you come to the Lord for sure.

I mean can you compare and contrast a little bit how the world seeks identity versus how the Christian embraces identity.

Yeah, absolutely. The Scriptures talk about identity and our identity as as Christians. With these two words in him or in Christ and client replete throughout the New Testament, specially the apostle Paul that language and it really gets at the heart of how Christians would answer the question. It has nothing to do with me who I am, has nothing to do with me. It's all about what Jesus is done what he has done for me and that's the difference between the way Chris would answer and the way somebody in the world would answer to striving striving to to find something to offer themselves offer the world that is look at look at me, look at what I've done what I rest upon my my career, my family look wonderful. My family is my sexual expression my gender expression. Whatever it might be something that I feel like I can take like II put my my handprints on the aunt myself on this and Paul in Galatians 2, the exact opposite. He talks about how I guide no longer I who live the life I do not live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me for pulses. Let me give a common obituary to who I am, I die. But now notice who I am what I do. It's all about Jesus Christ.

That's that's the difference in how Christian would answer the question. It's not about me. I take the spotlight off of me and I want to find my dining you know in this dis-concept of dying to yourself is so antithetical to the spirit of the world but you know they don't understand when Christians talk that way what you mean he must increase and I must decrease or I've been crucified with Christ.

It's no longer I who live, but Christ liveth in me that there is a sense in which a lot of people here here that and then they say I don't even know what that means. How can you be dad but be alive. What did Jesus Christ do in you to transfer you from death to life, and of course we know now is finished work on the cross and his resurrection and what he did in a spiritually but can you talk a little bit about that spiritual transformation that we go through when we passed from death into life went when we are what we are reborn when we are converted will become Christian we belong to another world entirely so. Second Corinthians 517 whoever is in Christ is a new creation of the oldest escalate in the new has come. The new that is called timeout the new heaven and new earth that he timeout the whole renewed cosmos, that kind of belongs in the Christian now by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

We get we get that newness now and so when we talk about being dead in Christ are saying all that old stuff that that way of saying the way of selfishness. I don't belong to that is not defined by that and now I get this foretaste of heaven where there's there's life eternal. Where there's perfection where there's going to be no more tears. I I get a taste of that. Now, by God's work in me by the Holy Spirit in and so we would call that theological term sanctification right dying to sin living to righteousness. It's getting a taste of that New World. The common I tell people when you think about that that what God is doing in us by his Holy Spirit.

Don't you want to be a Christian. Once that kind of thing that you want your identity to be rooted in Christ when you receive those benefits.

Yeah it far expelled anything that we could ever try to acquire on our own in this world demand.

That's well said. So how does identity in Christ tie into our union with Christ. This is a key point is well. I think of Romans 810, which says if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. We have this new life in Christ but identity and union are those one and the same are they partners together what what do those terms really mean in the Christian life.

Yeah II think union with Christ laid the foundation for our for our identity and so you know Mike my book. It is structured. 10. Little chapters based on these in him versus that I mentioned. Each of those verses. When Paul talks going to be in Christ.

That's union language. We are united to him and that is what sets the foundation for identity for our identity. So Paul says there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. So what does that say about union because I'm united to Christ. He has taken my my punishment for me on the cross you've been condemned in my place, so I'm no longer condemned. Now take that union reality and how what does that mean for identity will that means that my identity is is one who is pardoned before God, one who is a forgiven child of God and so that means we don't need to to go through this life kind of eking out from pathetic existence on death row because no were not on death row anymore. We've been forgiven so that that gives invigorating purpose and meaning in my life knowing that I've been forgiven. So my union now has given me an identity excellent. You made me think of John 15, where Jesus talks about being design and where the branches and it's only by being attached to the vine that we can do anything at all. I mean that's that's really a stunning image really, when you talk about finding branches that week.

We can't do anything apart from Jesus. It's not just that I live now subscribe to a new religion, and I'm to obey all these laws that's that's not Christianity at all. We are absolutely unified with the God of the universe absolutely right yet that I love that imagery.

I'm glad you brought that up.

You know Paul likes this kind of countries for Cotto in him language or in Christ. But John is a little bit more flowery and poetic and he speaking about that same doctor. I'm not union with Christ, but he prefers that kind of image of the vine and the branches and but it gives a really powerful point which is to say there is no life at all apart from Christ and and so Jesus is not just kind of an entrance into Christianity. He is he is the Christian faith week we were relying upon him every waking moment in his spirit within us so Christian's true identity cannot be divorced from from Jesus week. He is our identity picked for as you mentioned, John 15 says apart for me you can do nothing so so we need that we need to recover Christianity that is reliant upon Jesus Christ. Every waking moment he can hear the gospel wasn't just good news to be believed take to get into the kingdom.

The gospel is that that that good news that we hang on the whole way through the kingdom. It is what weight is what gets us from this life to the next. Yeah it's it's such a profound truth that you're talking about here and it's hard to wrap our minds around it completely because it is so profound, but it's really really important.

Like you mentioned before, you've got all of these great chapters in your book talking about what it means to be in him, and I want to go to into those in more detail when we come back from this break Jonathan Landry cruise my guest pastor community Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan and author of the Christian's true identity will be right back on Janet my for today. Janet never today is proud to partner with pre-born to help save babies lives. My name is Dan Steiner and I am the president of prewar ultrasound truly is a game changer when mom comes into pregnancy center under pressure to abort her child.

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855402, baby. That's 855402 baby 855-402-2229 or there's a banner to click@janetandeffort.com you're listening to Janet. Never today though. Welcome back. It's great to have you with us and great to have with us Jonathan Landry cruise he's pastor community Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan and author of the Christian's true identity. What it means to be in Christ, we are talking a little bit before the break Jonathan about John chapter 15, where Jesus is the vine and we are his branches and it's interesting because in that same chapter. The Lord says you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain so that whatever you ask of the father in my name he may give to you in this chapter in your book talking about being chosen in him. What is the take away there for Christians to understand the significance that we did not choose him that he chose us and why that's so astounding. Yeah right. My hope is people would would not read this book, but as they explore the doctrine of election. What that means is that that it would mean for the Christian that we find are worth not in our accomplishments.

The trophies on the shelf I you know the likes we get on Facebook are popularity or looks, whatever it might be wheat will we try to do that thing we will find ourselves very disappointed because that is never good enough to be chosen by the world will always be striving to do more to make more friends to have more accomplishments. None of those things can give us a true and lasting sense of value and worth. We can never accomplish enough popular not be attractive enough, the gospel that sweeps all of those portends to find you worth in in our selves and our accomplishments when it tells us that the God of the universe before the world began, set his affection on us and chose us in love so that it's meant to give us this this comfort in this constellation of WoW I actually matter. Not because of anything I've done. I matter because God loves me and I'll mandate such. It's just an amazing thing to hear again and again he loves me, why, why, Lord, why do you love me but you do. It's all over your word and were pardoned in him. This is another point that she make that we are, as you mentioned before, you know that there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. A lot of Christians sometimes have difficulty living with that truth there. There is a tendency I think a lot of us to say I messed up today and I really send a lot today more than I did yesterday. God must not love me anymore and I really really forgiven. I can't speak to that just I'm sure is a pastor, you have people that you run into who struggle with the issue of forgiveness and struggle with the issue that they truly are pardoned all absolutely and yet we all will struggle with that some point or another. What we need to do is flee to the cross. When we look at the cross and understand what's going on there that the full wrath of God was poured out upon his son in our place, we see that that he took the curse so that we could receive his blessing.

That's what that's what we that's where we begin to uncover what it means to be pardoned and that there is no sin, so great or or misstep so dire that could ever keep us from the love of God. Let's hope all goes on to continue continues to go on to say, and in Romans chapter 8 at the end of the chapter there that there is nothing in in in heaven or on earth that could ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. And so, so you know III do. Certainly, my heart goes out to people and perhaps have struggle with assurance or have doubts on their forgiveness. But this is what you know that that the Christian churches confessed for centuries, and the apostles Creed that he descended into hell that he took the full weight of God's wrath and judgment even took our hell. We look to the cross we see that we see that was supposed to mean the me but but here I am, you and I live.

I think that's the only thing I can ever anchor full assurance of faith, yeah great going to Romans eight that's fantastic. I think also your your chapter on being pardoned in him ties into the next chapter which is being righteous in him because I think there's still a lot of Christians who don't understand the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ and how comforting that doctrine is. I think if you're struggling with your performance as a Christian and how much you fail, there is nothing like the doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ to give you that comfort in that assurance.

At least that's been the case for me. Do you feel the same.

Yeah, there is famous theologian Jake, reformation is the founder of the denomination of the OPC and famously sent a telegram in his final moments to colleague of his at Westminster seminary and John Murray were he said I'm so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. There is no hope without it dance to the but his last words before he died.

So that's what he's thinking about moments before he's about to to pass from this world and the next that's that's the moment we all need assurance right, it's what happens next. When I quote you know when I showed this mortal coil and a and I close my eyes on this world, and mage and found his assurance in the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ which means that Christ not only died for our pardon or for forgiveness.

But he also lived for our righteousness and I discuss in the book Janet about how forgiveness doesn't get us into heaven is not good enough apart and just keeps us out of hell. We still need that righteousness, that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. And that is also given to us through the life, death and resurrection that the work of Jesus Christ in his person, and so how does that. How does that inform my identity. It means that I already and am I ready have that standing before God.

I don't need to face that final judgment and I'm not living in fear, trying to present enough good works in obedience to the Lord.

Is this enough to get me in a we already have been given that evaluation and profound when we are found in the sun. We have done all that is necessary to stand for the presence of God and the pressure is off.

When you when you go through all of those truths that Christ wiped away our debts through his shed blood in and paid for our sin on the cross. But then was raised to life our justification and imputed to us his righteousness by faith.

All of those things are a gift.

All of those things, even the fate that we have that connects us to Jesus Christ.

We go back to what the word of God says that faith is a gift, so everything that we everything that we have is from him. It's so funny how we tend to think that there's some portion of this that has to be my doing right, but the difference between doing and done, the difference between religiosity and Christianity. And so we find our identity in Christ.

That means we find our identity in what has already been done and as you said and does take the pressure off and actually the only thing that can ever lay the foundation for good works just true true obedient heartfelt obedient because now we know were doing it out of gratitude, not order to try to put God in our debt and try to what you know when something from so great.

Can you talk about the chapter little bit that you talk about security our security in him again, this does tie back into the issue of assurance a little bit but to what extent are we secure in Christ, there are those who will say oh you know I lose my salvation could I do something so bad that I could never find my way back to the Lord. How do you comfort people in that regard.

It will in the chapter.

I talk about the three major threat that the Christian faith is sometimes called the dark Trinity. The unholy Trinity the world the flesh and the devil and that when we find ourselves in Christ we are secure from all the things our union with Christ is is indestructible. There's there's no power, not even the powers of hell and and the power of Satan can can pull us away from being in Christ and having identity that is rooted in and so there there is a sense of there's an assurance that there's no force there's no there's no army that can come in and pluck me from God grip. But as you mention, even our own sin. Even our own flesh when we find ourselves in Christ. We recognize that our sin is not what defines us more if our sin is what defined us, then yes, we would have reason to doubt reason to be afraid, but will worry Christ.

Our sin doesn't define us, but rather the sun defined as Christ thing and his his Wii and we call the sometimes to keep in being secure him were we talking about the preservation of the saints, or sometimes called the perseverance of the saints, and the only reason we can persevere in our faith is because we are preserved everlastingly by the heat, he talks about anime in John, Jesus says how all that the father's given me no way shall ever be cast away for me and those that Christ holds onto he holds onto with the group that can never be loosened his nakedness. That's wonderful. It's the best news and and such wonderful book. If you really struggle with this issue of your identity in Jesus Christ. What a good resource to use to get back on track. It's called the Christians true identity. What it means to be in Christ.

I pastor Jonathan Landry Cruz, who is been joining us today and such a delight to have a Jonathan thank you so much enjoyed your book and really enjoyed having you with us today. Thank you very much to God bless you have to leave it there. Thank you so much for being with us here on Jennifer today. It's always a delight to have you with us. We really do appreciate your listening will see next


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