Matthew 1:21b – You are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
A short time ago I began to make a close study of Matthew, Mark and Luke to discover exactly what Jesus had for his top priority. I learned that the first move of the newly baptized and Spirit-filled Jesus was to confront Satan in the wilderness and to do battle with him for forty days and forty nights until Satan had had enough. Along with all this Jesus was constantly dealing with demons as well as involving him with human sin in its various forms. I have just finished another look in Mark's Gospel and found forty-eight places where he had tracked down evil and was dealing with it.
Since Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, we can be certain that he is still confronting Satan and fighting sin by removing it. This fact was brought to my attention forcibly by Dennis Wiedrick in his book "A Royal Priesthood". Dennis and his wife Katie are senior leaders at the Hamilton Christian Fellowship, a flourishing congregation of believers like those we read about in the New Testament. They have lively worship and the gifts of the Spirit operate freely. Behind their success, however, is fervent prayer and especially the prayers of confession and repentance. Satan, demons, and sin must all be faced and removed before genuine spiritual renewal can occur.
As we approach the year 2000, many Christians want to do something special to celebrate the occasion. In our area, plans have been made for a Billy Graham Associate Crusade from September 20-23 this year. I am delighted. I believe, however, that if each one of us, who claim to be faithful followers of Christ, would confess our sin, repent and pray for his will to be done in us every day, we would soon find great things happening. We will find a deeper life in the Spirit for ourselves and our friends and we will see our local congregations become alive and vital like the Hamilton Christian Fellowship. It is worth a try.
Prayer: Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we praise and thank you for showing us what life can be like when we truly follow your way. We want to share in all the good things you have for us. Please help us reach those goals. In your Son's name we pray. Amen.