Below is an email this ministry originally sent out to our email subscribers April 2012, and since then, to every new subscriber:
Hebrews 12:1-3: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.” (NASB)
In order to gain from this Scripture and not grow weary and lose heart, so we can actually become part of this great cloud of witnesses, it would be both wise and prudent for us to fully understand this JOY which caused Jesus – caused God to leave heaven and endure the shame associated with the cross, and the excruciating pain of crucifixion.
Was it the joy to sit at the right hand of God? No, that could not be it because that’s the place He left – He gave up to endure the cross. Was it to build a huge earthy edifice and gain personal glory on this earth, or to gain the acclaim of mankind? No, it would not make any sense to leave the greater glories of heaven to gain the much lesser “glories” of this fallen world. What then could this JOY be!?
There was only one thing that was gained by Jesus the Son by this shame and pain He endured: It was the JOY He received by redeeming His precious beloved mankind by giving mankind the opportunity of redemption through faith in His work. Yes, it was for the JOY of the Gospel. The joy of the Gospel was the only joy that was great enough to temporarily move God the Son off His heavenly throne. That’s right, to God the Father – the Son – the Holy Spirit it was a joy greater than heaven itself. Why all three? Because as it’s written, they are One.
Therefore, if His heart beats within us – if His Holy Spirit dwells within us would not this be the JOY within us as well? Would not the JOY of giving mankind the opportunity of salvation by proclaiming to mankind the Gospel cause us not to grow weary and lose heart? Would not this JOY cause us to walk away from these lesser earthly “glories”? (Matthew 6:19-21) Would not this JOY cause us to endure hardships and shame even unto death? Yes, it would be. It must be!
Luke 15:3-10: “And He (Jesus) told them this parable, saying, What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (NASB) Yes, there is much joy in heaven concerning the Gospel. So what JOY is in you – motivates you!?
Prayer: Oh my Father, keep us who profess Your name from falling away from the faith – from the Gospel – from the JOY! For the time is at hand when we will need to endure – to take up our cross and deny ourselves. In Jesus’ name. Amen and Amen!
From my Heart to yours,
Minister Raymond D. Sopp
Well, now I know why I could not let go of the above email! For I now know within my heart-of-hearts that as I titled the Blog post below: “Judgment Is Upon Us!”
2 Thessalonians 1:3–5: “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.” (NASB) May I humbly encourage you to listen to my two sermons on Endurance by clicking on their titles: Devoured by Satan – The Joy
I would also humbly remind all of you of my four sermons on Prayer: The Need! – The Prayer! – The Fast! – The Answer!
Luke 21:25–28: “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (NASB)
Please! With all my heart I’m begging you to make sure you’re not just a mere professing Christian without His Spirit as you must be born-again. The year 2014 will be a time of great birth-pains and judgment, and you will be in need of endurance. Please use what our precious Lord has given to me to help you to examine yourself, and equip you to endure; and please, I beg you to help me reach out to other professing Christians by telling them about this ministry, and this ministry could also use as much financial help as possible in 2014 for outreach.
Yes, my burden for outreach has never been so great; would you please keep me and this ministry in your thoughts and prayers. The year 2014 will be no insignificant year, so again as it’s written: “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” And I say again: My burden for outreach has never been so great; would you please keep me and this ministry in your thoughts and prayers.
From my Heart to yours,
Minister Raymond D. Sopp