JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY TODAY AND FOREVER

                       "JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY,
                              TODAY AND FOREVER."
 
                            Reading: Hebrews 13:1-12
                                  Text verse 8
 

    INTRODUCTION

 
    (a) There are very few things in  this  world which we can depend  upon
    as  being unchangeable.
    (b) For the most part, things age and decay, fall into  disrepair,  and
    become worthless, to everyone except perhaps, those with long memories!
    (c) My grandmother's house sat beside a main road at the  seaside,  and
    when  I was a child, we used to go down every week to see her.
    (i) I used to enjoy  chasing  the  chickens around the gooseberry bush.
    I'm sure  I must have put them off laying sometimes.
    (ii) But I could always be sure of  a nice fresh boiled egg, done in  a
    saucepan  on the open fire. It always had a special taste, along with a
    thick doorstep  of thickly buttered  bread.  Even the strong stewed tea
    seemed attractive somehow.
    (d) I remember when my grandmother  died,  her house became vacant, and
    then  was demolished, sometime later.
    (e) Although that part of the coast  was  a favourite of my fathers, he
    avoided it as much as possible, and when  he did have to pass that way,
    he shed more than  a   few  tears,  because  of the memories associated
    with it.
    (f) I think we  all  have  difficulties  accepting  change  in  certain
    things  with happy associations.
    I remember as a child feeling  horrified  when they started to build on
    the  waste  ground  that  had  the  pond  in  which  I  used  to  catch
    sticklebacks, tadpoles  and  newts.
    Many times I had small frogs in  a  container on the window  sill. They
    had  been  hatched from frogspawn.
    (g) Now, when we go  to  our  home  town  of  Belfast,  in the North of
    Ireland, we just  about  get   lost   in   some   parts   of  the City,
    because you quite simply can't recognise it for what it used to be.
    Everything changes so much, we are  inclined  to  ask, WHAT CAN WE  PUT
    OUR  FAITH IN THAT WILL REMAIN THE SAME NO MATTER WHAT?
 

    POINT 1

 
    (a)   Our   Scripture   reading     tells    of    dependability    and
    changelessness   in  a changing world :-
    It says, "Jesus Christ, the SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER!"
    (i) His Church has changed  greatly  in  the  last two  centuries!  Not
    always  for good!
    (ii) Often the  quality  of  those  within  the  church has depreciated
    greatly!
    (iii) The scourge of the Church  today is COMPROMISE! UNIFORMITY AT ANY
    PRICE!
    WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO WATER DOWN OR  'ADAPT'  THE TRUTH OF GOD TO SUIT US
    OR  OUR FALSE  'TOGETHERNESS'  WITH  SO  CALLED  OTHER 'CHRISTIANS' WHO
    AREN'T EVEN SAVED!!
    (b) No  matter  what  happens   in   this   world,  or  how  man  tries
 
    to  twist, contaminate, and pervert the  truths  of the Gospel - CHRIST
    WILL  NOT  CHANGE!!
    HE IS THE SAME, YESTERDAY, TODAY, FOREVER!! HALLELUJAH!!
    (c) Perhaps we glibly repeat the statement, without any real thought of
    what  it  is actually saying!
    DO WE HONESTLY BELIEVE that the  Miracle working Christ of Scripture is
    the SAME?
    How much are we willing to STAND BEHIND IT??
    (d) Then taking it a step further,  how  much  are we willing to PUT IT
    INTO ACTION IN OUR OWN LIVES? SUCH A  STATEMENT IS NOT PASSIVE - IT  IS
    AN  ACTIVE  STATEMENT WHICH DEMANDS ACTION ON OUR PART!
    (e) We CANNOT sit down and  GLIBLY  STATE  THAT  CHRIST  IS  THE  SAME,
    WITHOUT accepting the challenge  which  that  presents,  and SHARING IT
    WITH THE WORLD!!
 

    POINT 2

 
    (a) THE CORNER-STONE OF OUR EVANGELICAL FAITH IS THE RESURRECTION! PAUL
    TELLS US THAT IF IT DIDN'T HAPPEN,  THEN  OUR FAITH IS VAIN!  IN  OTHER
    WORDS  IF  JESUS DIDN'T RISE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD - WE LIVE A FARCE!!
    (b) We must admit that there are many today who would challenge what we
    believe on   the   resurrection!   For   example   a  past   Bishop  of
    Durham,  who  said    the resurrection is nothing more than a CONJURING
    TRICK WITH A BAG OF BONES!
    (c) Some time ago, I  heard  a  minister   on  'Morning  Call'  on  the
    television. I heard him ask  the  question, "What makes Jesus different
    from  the  founders of other world religions?" So I started to  listen.
    He  went  through them all from  Mohammed  to Moses, and how they died.
    Then he  said,  "The  thing that makes  Jesus different is that HE DIED
    A  VIOLENT  DEATH!  He  then  said  goodbye,  and we were left with the
    words on the screen, "IT IS FINISHED!"
    (d) The difference between  Christianity  and  other  religions is that
    it's FOUNDER IS ALIVE AND WELL AFTER 2000 YEARS!!!
    (e) There are many today who believe  that Jesus rose only as a SPIRIT,
    A GHOST!
    But such a resurrection is impossible,  for  resurrection  means,
    "The  bringing back to life of that which was dead!
    THE SOUL OF JESUS DID NOT DIE!
    (f) The Apostle Paul says, "If  Christ   be  not  raised,  ye  are  yet
    in  your sins."
    (g) Because Jesus has risen  bodily,  THE  CHAINS  OF  DEATH  AND  HELL
    HAVE  BEEN BROKEN! HALLELUJAH!!
    BECAUSE HE LIVES, WE SHALL LIVE ALSO!
    Jesus Himself declares, "I am  the  resurrection  and the life, He that
    believeth on  Me,  though   he   were   dead,  yet  shall  he live, and
    whosoever liveth and believeth on  Me  shall  never die."
    (h) It goes without saying, that for  Jesus  to be the same today, then
    He had  to be raised from the dead,  which thank God is the case as  we
    have  the  positive  experience in our own lives that He is alive!
 

    POINT 3

 
    (a) I remember seeing a sign  on  a  church  -  "My God is real - sorry
    about yours"
    (b) There are so many people today with a dull dead empty religion.
    THANK GOD, WE HAVE A LIVING SAVIOUR!! HE IS REAL!!
    (c) When Billy Graham went to Ireland  away back in  1960,  I  remember
    sitting there amongst all those  thousands  of people in  Windsor  Park
    football  ground, absolutely awestruck by this tremendous event.
    Billy Graham said, "You cannot put God in a test tube and say 'there is
    God'."
    That's so very true, but our  proof  of  the  living God is the work He
    performs  in our heart when we yield it to Him!
    EXPERIENCE IS THE GREATEST PROOF OF ALL!!
    (d) The Ulster evangelist Pastor Billy Mullan is reported to have said,
    "I don't want to  share  my Saviour with you, I don't have to - because
    you can have Him  all  to  yourself! You can take the Saviour home with
    you!"
    (e) Jesus said, "Lo I  am  with  you  always,  even  to  the end of the
    world."
    Someone Who walks and talks  with  us  -  Someone   with  Whom  we  can
    share  every  problem, and every good time also.
    (f) He is the SAME YESTERDAY!  The  Bible  is  NOT JUST HISTORY! IT  IS
    THE  LIVING WORD OF GOD! Billy Graham said, "It is more up to date than
    tomorrows newspaper"
    He is the SAME TODAY! The Jesus we read about in Scripture, IS THE SAME
    NOW!!
    His Power has in no way  diminished!   HIS  LOVE,  HIS  AUTHORITY  OVER
    EVIL  AND DISEASE, HIS COMPASSION, AND  DESIRE  TO INTERVENE - HAVE NOT
    CHANGED!
    He is the SAME FOREVER! "This SAME JESUS shall so come in  like  manner
    as  ye have seen Him go!"
    (g) PAST, PRESENT, PROPHETIC, HE IS  THE UNCHANGEABLE ONE!!
    (h) Our personal vision of  Christ  will  effect,  the way we live, and
    every aspect of our witness to others!  It  will effect how much of HIS
    POWER can flow  THROUGH US to  help  others  with many varying needs. I
    have been known to  use   the   rather  strange  term  of the CHRISTIAN
    DRAINPIPE! A channel through which His power flows.
    Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish!"
 
 

    POINT 4

 
    (a) When we see advertisements,  we  can  usually write one word across
    them -  EXAGGERATION!
    (b) There are many who speak of the  miracles in the Gospels as if they
    are  some  sort of advertisement for Christ, and yet if PUT TO THE TEST
    TODAY DO NOT WORK!!
    (c) In between our two sessions at  collage, we were sent to Ashton-in-
    Makerfield in Lancashire, in England.
    During our stay there, we attended a campaign meeting, and saw a  child
    walking who had been crippled,  a  deaf  woman  starting to hear, a man
    with no kneecap, who to his  own  amazement,  was able to start bending
    his leg again, and walk normally!
    (d) The local paper,  for   weeks,   had   it's   front  page  full  of
    stories  of miraculous healings! HUNDREDS WERE SAVED AND TRANSFORMED BY
    GOD'S POWER!
    (e) THE JESUS WHO UNSTOPPED  DEAF  EARS, OPENED  BLIND  EYES,  RESTORED
    WITHERED HANDS, CAUSED THE LAME TO WALK: THIS JESUS IS THE SAME AT THIS
    MOMENT!!
    HE IS LIMITED ONLY BY THE LIMITATIONS OF OUR VISION OF HIM!
 

    CONCLUSION

 
    (a) After all,  did  not  Jesus  say  of  those  who  would  become His
    disciples, "Greater things than these shall they  do because I go to My
    Father."
    WE SERVE A LIVING MIRACLE WORKING CHRIST!!
    Psalm  103:3  speaks  of   the    Lord   "Who   forgiveth   all   thine
    iniquities,  Who HEALETH ALL THY DISEASES!"
    William Booth believed strongly  that  God  could  perform miracles  in
    answer  to prayer. He wrote in the War Cry, "This is in perfect harmony
    with  the  views   and  experience  of  the  Salvation  Army  from  the
    beginning. Nothing  to  the  contrary  has   ever  been  taught  by our
    authority, and  numerous  instances  of  faith-healing   have  occurred
    throughout it's history."
    (b) The Lord is reliable, always willing  and able to meet the need, in
    answer to the prayer of faith!
    (c) That need may be for  Salvation  or  for  physical healing - He can
    meet it!!
    (d) You might say to yourself,   "That  is some statement!!" We  cannot
    believe in half measures! If Christ  has  not changed, then His  Gospel
    has  not  changed either, SO  WHY  IS  IT  NOT  HAVING THE IMPACT TODAY
    WHICH HAS SO OFTEN  BEEN  SHOWN IN THE PAST???
    (e) The mark of spiritual authority shown in the early Church, was that
    "SIGNS FOLLOWED THE PREACHING OF THE WORD."
    (f) The situation today  is  that  OCCULT  PRACTICES,  are growing at a
    remarkable rate - and one of  the  main  reasons for this -  apart from
    the obvious appeal to  the  lower   nature,  is  the  fact  that  these
    are SUPERNATURAL RELIGIONS, making full use of the Devil's  power  with
    the  'lying signs and wonders' spoken of in the book of Revelation!
    (g) My nephew, in  Ireland,  on  one  occasion  drew  my attention to a
    newspaper report that Witchcraft  would  apparently  soon be allowed to
    advertise on television  and  radio!  Couple  this  with  the  curb  on
    true  evangelical programmes, and  I  think  we  will  begin to get the
    picture!
 

    APPLICATION

 
    IF CHRIST HAS NOT CHANGED AND HIS  GOSPEL HAS NOT CHANGED, THEN IT MUST
    BE WE WHO HAVE CHANGED FROM THE EARLY CHRISTIANS!!!
    (a) After all, if Christ is unchanged, then we should be  living  in  a
    present experience of "The Acts of the Apostles"!!
    It has been said that  it  is  the  open-ended  unfinished book that is
    still  being written!
    (b) I remember seeing a sign that said,
    "GOD IS NOT FOR EMERGENCY USE ONLY!!"
    (c) Many people only  seem  to  pray  when  in hopeless difficulties or
    emergencies!
    (d) He knows YOUR need at this  moment,  and  He wants to meet it! WILL
    YOU LET HIM?
    (e) So often we sing, "Christ is the answer to my every need!"
    DO YOU BELIEVE IT?
    (f) If it is true, which it is, it demands a response from us!
    (g) Let Jesus deal with whatever the need may be in your life!
    IS IT SPIRITUAL - EMOTIONAL OR PHYSICAL? WE HAVE AN ALL SUFFICIENT GOD!
    (h) Jesus said, "Ask and it shall be given you!"
    "Call upon me and I will answer!"
 
    NO MATTER HOW GREAT THE NEED MAY  BE,  HE HAS THE POWER,  THE  ABILITY,
    AND  THE STRENGTH TO MEET THAT NEED!! BUT WILL YOU LET HIM?
 
    Chorus "Meet my need Lord"
 
 
 
 
SONGS FROM SALVATION ARMY SONG BOOK
 
SONG
 96
 67
610
647
750  CHORUS ONLY
 
Choruses
Yesterday, Today, Forever.
He's the Christ of Yesterday
He's the Same Today as Yesterday (163)
Jesus is Real to Me.
Meet My Need Lord (86)