All posts by Matthew J. Cochran

Matt Cochran's passion is seeing people's lives transformed by a relationship with Jesus Christ. Having served in the Marine Corps in locations all over the world, Matt easily connects with people. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Christian Studies and a Master's Degree in Discipleship Ministries. Above all else, Matt loves being a dad to Colin, Hank and Amelie.

Salvation belongs to the Lord

Jonah 2:8  Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.

Where are you looking to find hope in this lost world?  If you’re looking for hope to come from the government, or from financial security, or even the prospect of world peace, you’re going to be disappointed.

There’s no hope to be found in the things this world has to offer.  That may sound depressing, but there is good news.  Salvation is found in God alone.  Maybe you’ll never find hope where you’re searching, but God is holding out His hand for you to grab onto, offering you hope that you could never know without Him.  He’s for you and He wants to give you that hope.

Even though we waste a lot of our time looking in all the wrong places, only to be disappointed time and time again, it’s good to know that there is hope after all. It’s good to know that we have a loving Father who cares for us and provides for us a way to forgiveness and reconciliation.  It’s good to know that the Son, who is the radiance of the glory of God (Hebrews 1:3) and who holds all things together (Colossians 1:17) stands between us and the Father to serve as our mediator.  It’s good to know that the Savior who rose from the dead will also raise us up when the time comes (1 Corinthians 15:16).

If you haven’t put your hope in Jesus, look to Him today.  He’s all you need in this life, and the next.

 

 

The end of all things

Revelation 21:6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

Do you ever fear the future?  Are you afraid to give any thought to what will happen to this world when the end comes?  Are you thinking right now as you read this that the end times already have come?

The Bible has a lot to say about how things end, some of them may seem a little unnerving because of their unfamiliar nature (flying creatures with eyes on their wings and whatnot), but there’s great news about it all.  God is the author of all things, from creation to His appointed end time.

There’s nothing to worry about!  Nothing ends apart from the way God wants it to come to completion.  None of it ought to scare us.  Even though there’s talk of earthquakes and the sky becoming dark, wars, and famines, we know who is in control of it all.  We know who wrote the ending before the beginning.

God is good, He is in control, He is perfect in all His ways.  He will bring all things to their necessary completion for your life, for my life, and for the world as we know it.  Keeping in mind the nature and character of the Father alleviates fear of the future.

The cross

John 19:16-18  16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus,17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them

Oh the cross.  The symbol we uphold as a wonderful sign of God’s love for us was viewed as a symbol of torture for the people of Jesus’ day.  What we wear around our necks as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice was used by the Romans as a reminder of who was in control.  Or so they thought they were in control.

The beauty of the cross is that it was not forced upon Jesus.  He knew full well when He stepped out of eternity into time and space that He would face the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, the denial of Peter, the abandonment by the rest of the twelve, the scourge of the whip, and the torture of the cross.  He knew it, and He chose to come anyway.  His love for mankind compelled Him to do so.  God’s plan of redemption from the beginning was completed in Jesus’ act of willingness to go to the cross.

He endured every moment of pain for you and for me, that we might be reconciled to God.  There’s no greater gift ever given in all the world that God becoming a man to die for our sins.  We so often look to Jesus for what He can do for us – and not what He DID for us.  We look to Him for what He can give us – and not what He GAVE us.  He gave us himself, and there is nothing that compares.

We don’t need treasures.  Jesus is our treasure. We don’t need pleasures.  We can delight in Christ.  We don’t need respect and position, the humble, suffering servant bought and paid for our standing with God.  He is our gift.  If we accept the offer.

The High Priestly Prayer

John 17:1-26  

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed 6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you.8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.t 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,t that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Before the world was created, Jesus was.  Before time began, Jesus was.  And then, the Eternal One who holds all things in balance did something extraordinary – He stepped into time and took on human flesh.  He gave up all the glory of heaven so that we could know God.  He gave up many of His rights as God, but one thing He did not give up – His love for us.

While on this earth, Jesus loved His own just as He loved them in heaven.  In His last hours, He prayed a beautiful prayer, first for His close followers and then for you and me.  He knew He was betrayed, He knew He would die, and He knew that you and I would sin against Him.  But He prayed a high priestly prayer for our joy in Him, our unity in Him, our sanctification in Him.

Then Jesus gave us an idea of what salvation is all about.  He died that we might be where He is, that we may see His glory and therefore glorify the Father.  This was the plan before time began.  He’s always loved us, before we even existed.  And though we have sinned against Him, He chose to die in our place, taking our sins onto Himself, so that we can experience eternal life with Him.  Oh what love He has for us.

The Day of the Lord Will Come

Jesus is coming

2 Peter 3:1-13  1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles,3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,t not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

What should we expect when Jesus returns?  Will there be a great disaster on the earth that wipes out everything?  Will the entire world come to an end before Jesus comes back?  Will He rapture His people before any disasters?

The main point that can be reached through studying the Scriptures is that there is one thing we can expect when Jesus returns:  Jesus.  We won’t know when it will be, what the circumstances will be leading up to His arrival, and Jesus himself even spoke of the timing of His return being unknown to any but the Father.  When the time is right, according to God’s standards, the Father will send the Son back here to reign.  It may seem like it’s taking forever to us, but His timing is perfect.  To God, who is eternal, there is no reason to rush, and He’s never late.

The fact that we don’t know when Jesus will return is not cause for discouragement.  It is cause, though, for us to always be ready at all times.  We should be living out the lives He’s called us to live, carrying out His will here on earth.  We can’t sit around waiting, He’s given us a mission.  He expects us to be fulfilling that mission until He returns.  While we expect Him, let’s prepare the way for Him.

Watch Yourselves

Jesus is Coming

Luke 21:34-36  34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” 

Are you ready?  When Jesus returns it will be sudden and unexpected, we won’t have time to get ready once things begin.  Are you ready for it?  Or are you caught up in the cares of this life?

It’s so easy to get distracted from what really matters.  There are things all around us to keep us occupied.  If it’s not the TV or the internet, it’s all of the apps that are now available on our phones.  We literally never have to go without some form of entertainment or distraction.  So how do we keep our eyes on Him, awaiting His return?

The answer to that question lies in Romans 12:2.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect

We can’t be caught up in the things of this world if we’re going to be ready for Christ’s return.  That means being transformed by the renewal of our minds.  That simply means trading in our understanding of the world for God’s.  Looking at things from His point of view.  If we do this, we won’t find the distracting things of this world appealing at all and we’ll look to the Lord’s business.

Warning Concerning Antichrists

The First Letter of John

1 John 2: 18-27 18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.t21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.25 And this is the promise that he made to ust—eternal life. 26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

 It will never be my intention to scare you, but there are certain warnings in God’s Word that need to be looked at.  John thought it was important enough to point out the existence of antichrists that he spent a good portion of his first letter warning about them.

There are those who oppose the gospel of Jesus Christ and seek to lead His followers astray.  Though we’d like them to be easily identifiable through something like their black cowboy hat, it isn’t that simple.  Though we’d like to be able to tell who they are based on the fact that they’re “out there” saying hateful things about Jesus, it’s not true.  They are among us, posing as our brothers and sisters.  They say things much like what we say.  They call themselves Christians but their intentions are not to follow Christ.  Their intentions are rather to keep others from following Him.

So how can we spot someone who is an antichrist if they look just like a Christian in some cases?  There is one test given by John to his readers.  They deny that Jesus is the Christ.  The simple fact is that they are called antichrists because they are against Christ.  If someone is opposed to believing that Jesus is the Son of God, sent into the world to redeem God’s people, then he is an antichrist.  Don’t get this mixed up with The Antichrist who will come as the embodiment of all that is evil.  These are individuals who reject the gospel yet try to look like they belong with Christians as they work to  destroy.  It was true in John’s time and it’s true in ours.  Be prepared for lies by knowing what the Truth is.