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We Know We Have Confidence Before God

We Know We Have Confidence Before God

 “We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” I John 3:19-21 NASB

Who is the devil? He is the accuser of the brethren. He loves to remind us of our past by bringing up our former failures and shortcomings. He would love nothing more than to place doubt and fear in the heart of the believer. In fact, the whole world is under the control of Satan. For this reason, the world is influenced to bring condemnation upon the believer. Condemnation that will bring doubt to God’s promises. Condemnation that will bring doubt to God’s work. Why else do you think Christians are so prone to being called hypocrites?

The world has rejected the truths of God. When Christians walk in that truth they stand opposed to it and fiercely attack it. Just as they did with Christ, the world tried to condemn Paul, accusing him of wrong doing. Yet, when Paul stood before the Jewish council he said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.” (Acts 23:1). Though the world condemned him, he had a clear conscience before God. When all is said and done a clear conscience before the world means nothing. The world is not our judge-God is. Therefore, a clear conscience before God means everything.

As repentant Christians who have been washed clean by the blood of Christ we walk in the truth. Jesus Himself is truth. (John 14:6). The major theme of I John is fellowship with Jesus, walking in the light as He is in the light. If we are walking in the light, we are abiding in the truth and the truth sets us free. (John 8:32). If we have indeed been set free we no longer stand in condemnation. Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Since we are not condemned, we have the freedom to have confidence before God.

Hebrews 10:19-20 tells us that we can have confidence to enter the presence of God because of the blood of Jesus and His flesh He gave as a means of an atoning sacrifice. The next verse tells us where our confidence comes from. It comes from our great High Priest, which is Jesus. Jesus as our great High Priest is continually before the Father making intersection for His Children. Since we have the blood of Christ, the flesh of Christ, and the intersection of Christ we are able and invited to, “draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience.” (Hebrews 10:22). We can draw near to God.

If we attempt to put confidence in the flesh or the things of the world we will never have a clear conscience before God. We will live in condemnation and be eternally condemned. However, Christian don’t put confidence in self or the world. By faith, they put their confidence in Christ. This is faith in Christ. Through our faith in Christ and His work our hearts have been made pure, our conscience has been made clean, and we have confidence before God. What an amazing act of assurance the Father gives to His children through His Son.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Who’s In Control?

Who’s In Control?

“A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” Psalm 29:23

Years ago I saw a bumper sticker that said, “God is my Copilot.” If God is your copilot you better switch positions in a hurry because you are about to crash. He is Lord. Since He is Lord He isn’t co to anything nor is He in need of a copilot. Imagine if you were a passenger in a plane and you found out that there was a master pilot onboard with a flawless record along with a flunky pilot who has already crashed and burned repeatedly. Now you’ve just learned that the flunky pilot is in control of the plane while the master pilot is just along for the ride. The next question will be, “Where is the nearest exit?” The fact is, we are the flunkies, and God is the master.

Pride is the sin that rises up in our life that leads us to assume the position of control. The bible repetitively warns us of the danger of pride. There is no doubt that pride is one of, if not the, most destructive force on this earth. The bible teaches that pride will bring us down but humility will lift us up. I Peter 5:6 says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” Humility before God is total dependence and total obedience.

Think about this for a moment. What in life are you actually in control of? Your breath? Nope. I know plenty of people who would love to breathe. What you eat or drink? Nope. Millions of people would love something to eat or drink. You don’t even have control over your life or death. The truth is the only thing you have control over is your decisions, and, the only decisions you have control over are the ones you are making right now.

On the other hand, God is in complete control. He is in control of today and tomorrow. He knows the beginning and the end because He is the master of the beginning and the end as well as everything in the middle. With this knowledge, why would we, the flunkies, not want to submit full control to God, the master?

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Step Out Of Your Fantasy Into Reality

“You have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.” Number 32:23

Children live in a world of fantasy and make-believe. Therefore, a child is easily persuaded that the word of make-believe is reality. Adults should know the difference. Unfortunately, too many adults remain childish with their lack of a perception of reality. They will make statements of fantasy like; “Just because she died of an overdose doesn’t mean I will,” or, “just because he was caught doesn’t mean I will be,” or “just because everything blew up in his face doesn’t mean it will in mine.” They think they are above and beyond everyone else who was caught in the snare. This is a childish state of mind. They need to repent of this and put on their big boy and big girl pants and step into reality. In other words, they need to grow up and become mature men and women.

We are childish when we try to pretend that the elephant in the room isn’t there. When I was a child my dad had a 57 Chevrolet pickup. I loved that truck. One day he left my sister and I in the truck while he went into a store. We started wrestling around in the seat, I probably started it, and then one of our feet accidentally kicked the back window shattering it into thousands of little pieces. With our childlike minds we simply sat straight up in the seat and pretended like nothing happened. Surly, no one would notice, right? Unfortunately, for us, our dad noticed immediately.

That is the same mindset we have when we think no one knows of the destructive sins we are harboring and holding onto. We think we are crafty and sneaky. We think we have cleverly hidden our sin from the rest of the world. In reality, the only one who believes that lie is the one who is telling it. This individual is in denial, living in a fantasyland of lies.

Ephesians 4:22 says, “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.” Satan operates in the realm of deceit. If we are going to be set free we must step out of our fantasy and into reality. We must be honest. We must be honest with God first and confession of our sins to Him. After all, He does already know everything. I John 1:9 says,  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Secondly, we need to be honest with the rest of the world, especially our loved ones. When we live in the fantasyland our lies alienate us from the world, especially our loved ones. Remember, they already know. The only one you are lying to is yourself. However, when we are honest, even if we are a total mess, people are much more likely to walk with us and help us. Deliverance starts with honesty.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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You’re Not God

You’re Not God

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

It is not my intention to share with you a mutli-step plan to deliverance. However the first step to deliverance is obviously coming to the realization that you have a problem. It is stepping out of denial and into reality. Whether your issue is anger, lust, bitterness, addiction, or anything else, you first need to admit that you have a problem.

That being said, you can be fully sincere in your admittance that you have a problem and still be in denial. You are in denial when you think that you are in control. Know this, you are not God. Now, I know no rational thinking person ever truly thinks that he is God. However, when you believe the lie that you are in control of your life you are assuming the position of God; and you my friend are not God. If you think you have everything completely under control you are in denial. Your pride has consumed you and will eventually destroy you. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.”

Haven’t you already made a big enough mess out of your life? Been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it. Why then do you not turn your life over to the Lord and allow Him to transform your mess into a masterpiece. There is no doubt in my mind hand I not surrendered my life to the Lord when I did I would be either dead or in jail today. Only a master can make a masterpiece. And, we are not masters-but God is.

This scripture tells us not to lean on our own understanding. Remember, it was your own understanding that spun your life out of control in the first place. It then tells us to trust the Lord with all your heart and in all of your ways acknowledge Him. Simply stated, that means we surrender full control over to God. When we do, He has promised to straighten out our mess and make our paths straight.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Life is in the Blood

As we look into the Word of God we see how brutal and bloody Jesus death was. People often ask, “Was this bloody brutality truly necessary?” I think that in part God was showing us how ugly sin truly is. However, everything Jesus did in His life, death, and resurrection had meaning. Everything was preplanned and very intentional.

Whereas death is the wage of sin, life is the required payment for sin. Leviticus 17:11 tells us that life is in the blood. For this reason in the Old Testament sacrificial system God required the life’s blood of animals to be offered as a sacrifice for sin. Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.”

While Israel was still enslaved to Egypt God sent Moses to Pharaoh to demand he let God’s people go. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he refused. God sent nine devastating plagues on the nation of Egypt and Pharaoh still refused to let God’s people go. The tenth plague would however change Pharaoh’s mind. This plague would bring about the death of every first born male child in all the land. God told Moses to tell His people that they would be spared from this plague of death if they would sacrifice a lamb and place its blood on the doorpost of their homes. When the angel of death came, it passed over every home covered with the blood.

Sacrifice didn’t start in Egypt. It started when God Himself sacrificed an animal to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve after they had sinned. The life’s blood was taken from this creature not only to cover their nakedness, but also their sin. The giving of life’s blood was clearly the requirement of God from the very beginning of creation and passed down from generation to generation. Eventually it was commanded by God in the Law of Moses for Israel to abide by.

God knew that He would have to give His Son as a sacrifice for sin before He ever created Adam and before He ever laid down the foundations of the earth. Revelation 13:8 says, “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.” This verse does not mean that God predetermined whose name would be written down in the book of life and whose name would not be, as some would suggest. For God to create people He had no intention of saving would make Him an unjust God. This verse tells us that God foreknew whose name would be written in the book of life. II Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

The bloodiness of the cross was necessary for the salvation of mankind. Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no redemption of sins.” One of the cruelties of the cross was that those who were crucified died a slow agenizing and humiliating death as their life’s blood slowly drained from their bodies. They were literally bled out.

The blood sacrifices of the Old Testament were temporary and insufficient. For this reason the process needed to be continually repeated. I peter 3:18 says, “Christ also died for sins once for all,” and Romans 6:10 says, “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all.” Jesus sacrifice was sufficient putting an end to all sacrifice. The Old Testament sacrifice only covered the sin causing God to pass over the sin while the blood of Jesus washes away the sin. I John 1:7 says, “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” The blood of Jesus sets us free and releases us from our sins. Revelation 1:5 says, “To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood.” Having been cleansed by the blood we are also sanctified, made holy, by the blood, “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood.” (Hebrews 13:12).

Just before Jesus breathed His last He said, “It is finished,” letting us know that all of the work for the redemption of sins was completed. Nothing else needed to be done. Christ work on the cross and the shedding of His blood is sufficient for salvation opening the door for whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. When Jesus breathed His last the word of God tells us that the veil that separated the outside world from the holy of holies, where the very presence of God dwelt, inside of the Temple, was ripped from top to bottom. Because of the blood we can now enter the presence of God. Hebrews 10:19-22 says, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

The cleansing power of the blood of Christ is available to anyone that will turn to Him and believe on Him. But how will all know, unless we tell them?

calvary-jesus_feet_nailed

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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The Gospel Must be Communicated

Have you ever heard someone say “I allow my life to be my witness?” Clearly the bible teaches we should do good works. Titus 3:8 says, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” Jesus Himself said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). Godly living and good works should go hand in hand. However, good works alone is an insufficient witness.

Clearly we want the unreached world to see our good works so our Father who is in heaven will be glorified. However, good works alone can be dangerously misleading. The bible clearly states that we are not saved by our good works and that we are only saved by placing our faith in the works of Christ. (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit”

If we fail to communicate the gospel, which is the works of Christ that lead to salvation, we can lead the lost world into believing that their good life and good works are sufficient to save them. They will think they simply have to be a good person and perform good works to get to heaven. Paul said of those who teach this perverted form of the gospel, which is really no gospel at all, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8, 9). This is usually not the intention of the one who desires his life to be a witness. However, this is the danger of living a good life and doing good works without communicating the gospel.

True, biblical evangelism consists of communication. Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” One cannot preach without communication. The word preach means to proclaim. We are commanded to proclaim the gospel to all creation. We are called to be witnesses of Jesus and his teachings to the whole world starting where we are at. (Acts 1:8).

In the Word of God we find two distinct calls to preach. Paul tells Timothy, who is the pastor of Ephesus, in II Timothy 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” This type of preaching is pastoral preaching. It is preaching directed to the church with instruction that leads to godly living.

The other type of preaching is what Jesus commanded in Mark 16:15-preach the gospel. It is evangelistic preaching, or proclaiming. It is preaching directed to the lost with instruction of how to be saved. The Greek word used here is euaggelizesthai. It means, to evangelize. To evangelize is to share, preach, proclaim the gospel. Euaggelizesthai is a verb. It is a word that demands action. This word is used fifty two times in the New Testament.

Preaching is the means by which God has chosen to have His gospel message communicated. I Corinthians 1:21 says, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” Whether we are proclaiming to the masses or sharing with individuals we must communicate, preach, proclaim the clear message of the gospel. This is not just the pastor’s job. Every Christian is called to this task.

In the Word of God we find two ways that the gospel can, and should be, communicated. Clearly the first way is verbal. Acts 14:1 says of Paul and Barnabus, “In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks.” The spoken word is the most prominent form of communicating the gospel in the New Testament. However, it is not the only form of communicating the gospel.

John said in I John 5:8, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Luke also stated his purpose in writing the book of Luke in Luke 1:3, 4 where he wrote, “it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” A quick read through the book of Romans will show you that it is the greatest gospel tract ever written. Writing isn’t preaching, but it is a wonderful form of communication that God has given to us to share His gospel message.

Whether we choose to preach, proclaim, share the gospel through the spoken word or the written word we must clearly communicate it. We are called and should be compelled to proclaim the gospel with the lost with every available opportunity we have. Apart from the proclamation of the gospel the lost world stands condemned to an eternal hell. When we proclaim the gospel they may chose to reject. Regardless of their decision, we have given them an opportunity to make a decision by communicating the gospel. If we however reject the call to proclaim, we not only stand in rebellion against God, we also have to ask, how then will they ever have the opportunity to make the choice?

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Follow Me

             Repentance means to turn away from something. It is making a u-turn, going the opposite direction from where you were going. Repenting from sin is turning away from the sin. Biblical repentance not only requires us to turn from sin, it calls us to turn to Jesus. Repeatedly throughout the gospels Jesus says, “Follow Me.”

Biblical faith in Jesus isn’t just believing facts about Jesus it is also following Him. James 2:19 says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” Although Satan probably won’t admit it, he believes in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He was there. He saw it. Too many people today have a Christmas and Easter type of faith. They believe the facts of Christ but have never committed their lives to following Him. I am a huge Mustang fan. For this reason I know all kinds of facts about men who influenced Mustangs like, Lee Iacocca, Carroll Shelby, and Steve Saleen. Yet, I have never met any of them. I have never had a personal relationship with them. I do however know Jesus, because I have committed myself to following Him.

Romans 10:9 tells us, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Clearly we need to believe the facts about Jesus. God did raise Him from the dead and that should be our foundation of faith. However, that alone isn’t good enough. Along with our foundation of faith we are to confess Jesus as Lord. This is our statement of faith. If Jesus is Lord over our lives we follow Him every day in every way.

In the tenth chapter of Mark we find one who obviously had great respect for Jesus. He came to Jesus knelt before Him and called Him “good teacher.”  He inquired of Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him that he needed to keep the law. The young man quickly responded to Jesus that he has kept the law since his youth. Jesus then told him to go sell everything you own, give it to the poor, and follow me. Jesus was showing him that he hasn’t really kept the law. Although he had respect for Jesus, he was unwilling to obey Jesus and unwilling to follow Him. Many people in our world today have great respect for Jesus, yet they too are unwilling to obey Him and follow Him.

Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” Notice that He said “you must.” The requirement for following Jesus is denying yourself and taking up your cross. We need to remember that the cross was an instrument of death. It was the form of execution for the day. In other words Jesus is saying if we are going to follow Him we must die to self and follow Him. We need to have more than just respect for Jesus. We must have total surrender; a surrender that leads to denying ourselves and obedient service of Him. Jesus said we must.

While sharing the gospel with the lost we must make it abundantly clear that if they chose to accept Christ as their savior and Lord they are entering into a lifetime commitment. We need to make it clear that this walk should impact and influence every area of their lives. We have way too many Sunday-go-to-meetin Christians in our society who don’t mind going to church on Sunday morning but won’t allow Jesus to impact their daily lives.

We need to clearly communicate the fact that entering into a relationship with Jesus is a onetime decision. Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” At the same time we need to clearly communicate the fact that following Jesus is a commitment that is renewed daily. Paul also said in I Corinthians 15:31, “I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”

take up cross

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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