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Confirming the Son

Confirming the Son

After Jesus stated in John 16:8 that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, He told us exactly why the Holy Spirit would do so. Jesus began this instruction in the next verse stating, “Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.” The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin because they do not believe in Jesus and He will start by confirming to the sinner that Jesus is Lord.

The first act of the Holy Spirits conviction is confirming the fact that Jesus is Lord. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 12:3, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” Does this mean that a lost person cannot speak the words, “Jesus is Lord?” Of course not. A lost person can certainly speak the words that Jesus is Lord just as a saved person can speak the words Jesus is accursed. However, those words will not represent the true conviction of the individual’s heart, nor will it represent the direction of the individual’s life.

Paul made this a little clearer in Romans 10:9-10 when he wrote starting in verse 9, “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.” Apart from the convicting power of the Holy Spirit confirming to the sinner that Jesus truly is Lord they would never truly confess such a statement, and if they do, it will be a lie. However, once the Holy Spirit has brought about confirmation to the sinner that Jesus is Lord through His convicting power the sinner will then repent and confess Jesus as Lord. Paul then writes in verse 10, “For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” The only reason the sinner has confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord is because the Holy Spirit has brought about confirmation of this fact within his heart through His convicting power.

Once Jesus has been confirmed as Lord the sinner will naturally repent from His sins and willingly, and joyfully, submit to Jesus’ lordship. One who has never repented of their sins may have been convicted of the fact that Jesus is Lord, but they chose to reject the conviction and never allowed it to truly bring confirmation within their lives. Since Jesus isn’t confirmed as Lord, they have no heart or desire to repent of their sins and live for Him.

Only after one repents of their sins and turns to Jesus can he come into agreement with Paul when he gave his testimony stating, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” (II Timothy 1:12). Oh, how sweet to have the confirming conviction that Jesus is Lord and know that you know. Do you know?

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Fool’s Gold

Fool’s Gold

“A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind.” Proverbs 18:2

Shortly after the discovery of America, English treasure hunters raced to the new found coastline in search of riches. Many had more zeal than knowledge and skill. They often filled their boats with what they presumed would make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Upon their return to England they would quickly be disappointed when they tried to sell what they presumed was gold. They would discover that they didn’t have gold that was greatly valuable; instead, they had a mineral called iron pyrites that was practically worthless. This mineral became known as, fool’s gold. Most of these treasure hunters invested all they had to pursue these riches, only to be left with nothing, leaving them totally devastated.

I am often confronted with people who are full of pride in their opinions. They think that they have understanding and often are arrogant enough to speak on behalf of God. Unfortunately, most of these people are totally ignorant of God’s Word. I have even seen “experts” on news broadcasts that are obviously clueless as to what the bible actually says. They think their opinion is a treasure chest full of riches not understanding that their man made opinions are fool’s gold. If they invest their lives on these opinions rather than the true treasure of God’s Word they will be left devastated.

In reality our opinions do not matter. Only the truth of God’s Word truly matters. When Jesus returns the bible tells us He will judge the nations with the sword that comes out of His mouth. (Revelation 19:15.) That sward is the Word of God. (Hebrews 4:12.) God has given to us His word so we can know Him and His will for our lives. He has also given to us the Holy Spirit who not only inspired men to write the Word of God but will also teach it to us. Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” Not only do we need to hear the Word of God, we need to act on it; we need to turn from our ways and to God.

In this world of false teachers who profess to be wise it is extraordinarily important to study God’s Word on our own. Yes, we are to sit under God called teaching and preaching as well, and that is also important, but if we know the Word of God we will know if they are rightly dividing the word of truth and will not be left with fool’s Gold that is worthless and potentially devastating.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Pay Close Attention to Yourself

Pay Close Attention to Yourself

“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” I Timothy 4:16

If we are going to be effective tools for the Lord we must take heed to the words of Paul and pay close attention to ourselves. With this in mind we should continually examine ourselves. We examine ourselves through the Word of God and through prayer. Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” This should be a continual prayer from our heart.

Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” If God will not hear us, he certainly will not use us. Therefore, as we examine our heart we must ask God to reveal any wickedness we may have hidden in our heart. One may say, “I have no need for this, far my heart is pure.” That is pride, which is in every way, wickedness. Remember, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18). The Pharisees were prideful in what they perceived to be their righteousness but, Jesus called them sons of hell.

Iniquity and wickedness is sneaky, hiding in the darkest corners of our soul, unwilling to show itself for what it is so it can control your will and manipulate you into thinking you are right with God. Some iniquity could have been lingering in the darkness for years while we are clueless of its power over us. Other forms of wickedness could have recently crept in trying to take root. For this reason we must pay close attention to ourselves and seek God for revelation of any form of wickedness hidden deep within.

Wickedness can come in many forms. It is found in the heart that is unloving and selfish. It is found in the soul that is self-centered and self seeking. It is found in the heart of the prideful trusting in their own power rather than God’s. It is found in the heart of the prejudice thinking they are better than the other. It is found in the vengeful, spiteful, resentful, and unforgiving spirit. It is found in the one who is seeking his own kingdom with worldly ambitions rather than the advancements of God’s. It comes in many forms and in many ways but the worst form of wickedness is the stubborn soul that refuses to repent and submit to God.

As we pay close attention to ourselves we are sure to find flaws in our character that do not line up with God’s. We first trust in His grace and receive forgiveness, then we seek His transforming and renewing power trusting that He will restore us into right relationship. We realize that we never reach the pinnacle of maturity as a Christian. We are perpetually learning and growing.

If Jesus is not central and exalted in our lives, we open the door for wickedness to enter in, and close the door for the power of God to work through us. Therefore, when we pay close attention to ourselves, the main question should always be, “Is Jesus central and exalted in my life?”

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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There is a Way that Seems Right, But You are Wrong!

There is a Way that Seems Right, But You are Wrong!

Some say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. However, I think it’s much more difficult to teach a stubborn man new thoughts. The mind of man is stubborn indeed. If a man, or woman for that matter, thinks they are right about any given subject you cannot reason with them. With the stubbornness of man you can clearly show them which way the water is flowing in the stream, but, they will argue with you the opposite. You can even give evidence by throwing a twig into the stream and telling them to watch which way it flows, but, they are still unconvinced. The stubbornness of man is indeed great. The more educated with the ways of the world a man is the more difficult it is to convince them of the ways of God. Their mind is made up and they simply will not be confused with facts. This is why praying for the lost is so important.

I am also thoroughly convinced that the stubbornness of man is the most destructive force on earth. We often try to blame the devil for our wows but the truth is, most of our wows are on account of our own stubbornness. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened to God as he refused to submit to the authority and power of God by not releasing the Hebrews. This stubbornness led to his own demise. It is truly mind boggling to think of how many individuals, families, churches, communities, cultures, and countries have suffered from the same form of stubbornness?

Proverbs 14:12 tells us, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” The way of man might seem right, reasonable, and rational but it will ultimately ruin them. For this reason, Romans 12:2 tells us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The ways of the world, the thought of man, will destroy us, but, the ways of God will always bless us. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”

This is the very reason that God tells us to repent. He doesn’t tell us to repent because He doesn’t want us to have fun or is trying to hold out on us. He tells us to repent because He loves us and He knows what is best for us. Just as the fire may look beautiful and intriguing to the child, the loving parent tells the child not to play by the fire because they know the fire will burn them and potentially kill them. For this reason we should always turn to and trust in God’s ways while turning away from our own. Our own ways have been tainted by worldly philosophy that is deadly and destructive.

Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” Therefore, let us not be fools and let us repent of our own ways. Let’s be wise and seek God’s.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Have you Believed?

Have you Believed?

The most important question is, “Have you believed on Jesus?” John’s conclusion as to whether or not one has eternal life was based on whether or not one has believed on Jesus Christ. He wrote in I John 5:10, “The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.” The bible is abundantly clear that we are saved by placing our faith in the person and works of Jesus Christ. I have already covered this topic so I will not further elaborate. However, I must make this point clear, simple repentance of sin will not save you; only faith in Christ will save you.
If we have set in our heart to deny ourselves and follow Jesus as Lord of our lives, trusting in His work on the cross as being sufficient for the atonement of our sins and His person being sufficient to lead us as an example, we will receive eternal life. John wrote in the next two verses, “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”
However, the one who is saved will naturally and willingly keep His commands and turn from his sin. John writes in I John 2:3-6, “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” The one who has faith in Jesus will keep His commandments. He will have died to self and allow Jesus to be Lord of his life.
The lordship of Jesus is the biggest test to the doubter. I never ask anyone if they are a Christian. The term Christian has become a cheap and meaningless word in our society. Not that the word is cheap; it is precious and valuable, yet, people have abused and defaced it with their cheep view of Christianity. I simply ask, “Is Jesus the Lord of your life?” I also never ask what someone did years ago or what type of religious experiences they have had. Too many people are depending on a religious experience they had once in their past to save them. That isn’t the biblical picture of Christianity. Jesus told us to follow Him. This is a daily commitment, not a onetime act that we do and then forget about the Lord until we get to heaven. Again, I simply ask, “Is Jesus the Lord of your life?” We are saved once, but by faith we daily pick up our cross and follow Him.
Jesus asked in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” If Jesus is truly the Lord of one’s life he will keep Jesus commandments. Will he do this perfectly? No. He will however, do this consistently. Again, he is not keeping the commandments of Christ to earn salvation since his faith in Jesus gives him salvation. He is keeping the commandments of Christ because of his salvation, because of his faith in Jesus. It is the fruit, the evidence, the result of salvation. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
The word keep is an interesting word. It was a word that was widely used by ancient seamen. While out in the open waters they would “keep” the stars. The sailors navigated their ships by the stars. If they weren’t skilled in “keeping” the stares they would be forever lost at sea. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “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.” Jesus is our navigator to the Father. (John 14:6). When we focus on and follow Jesus we lay aside our sin and keep His commandments. When we do not focus on Him we wander aimlessly lost. He is the one on whom we focus for He is the one in whom we have faith. When we focus on Him through faith, He perfects our faith and gives to us the ability to keep His commandments. True repentance is turning from sin and turning to Jesus by faith who will keep us from sin.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Is Turn or Burn Biblical?

Is Turn or Burn Biblical?

When we hear the term turn or burn it often rises negative emotions in the Christian and non Christian alike. I could never imagine Jesus standing across the street from a sin filled event with a picket sign shouting “turn or burn” or “sanctify or french-fry.” Rather, I see Him in the midst of the sinners showing them who He is along with the grace and love He has to offer just as He did with Matthew. (Matthew 9:9). The call to repentance was still there since we see that Matthew still had to make the choice to get up out of that tax collectors booth and follow Jesus.
Just after the call of Matthew we see Jesus reclining at the table with “many sinners.” After the Pharisees protested Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. “But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13). Jesus wasn’t acceptant of their sinfulness, just as a physician isn’t acceptant of sickness. Jesus knew that their sin was deadly and if they weren’t told about the cure they would die, just as a physician tells the sick about the cure so they will be made well. The choice is still up to the sinner and the sick as to whether or not they choose to accept the cure or continue on in their sickness that will ultimately kill them; and for the sinner, kill them for eternity.
That being said, though the term turn or burn isn’t found in the bible, it is biblical. Jesus Himself said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Biblically speaking, to perish isn’t just dying physically and having your body placed into a tomb. Biblically speaking, to perish is to be cast into the lake of fire, Hell, for all eternity. And, remember, biblical repentance isn’t just turning away from sin, but also turning to Jesus. Therefore, those who make the personal choice not to turn from their sins and turn to Jesus will perish and spend eternity in the fiery pits of Hell.
So yes, the term turn or burn is very biblical. Though it may sound harsh, we must always think of it in light of the grace and love Jesus has to offer. If you ever see a preacher preaching on Hell with a smile on his face don’t walk to the exit, run. Though the lack of repentance will bring God’s wrath and judgment on an individual we must remember that it was their personal choice and not God’s. II Peter 3:9 shows us God’s heart stating, “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.” And, when the sinner does repent his sins are wiped away and times of refreshing from the Lord come. Acts 3:19 says, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
Now, though I don’t think it’s the best term to use, when we hear the term turn or burn we should understand that it isn’t negative at all. This term in its proper understanding is in fact very positive. It is positive because God has given to us a means to escape the burn. It is positive because God has made us aware of the need to turn, and, has made us aware of both the blessing of repentance, and the curse of remaining unrepentant. It absolute baffles me as to why anyone would choose to stay unrepentant and not turn to Jesus.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Repentance Requires Action

Repentance Requires Action

As previously stated, true biblical repentance is more than just action, it is a reaction to the grace of God. That being said, true biblical repentance requires action. Paul tells us in Romans 5:17 that God’s grace is in abundance. Truly, God has more grace than we have sin. That being said, the abundance of God’s grace doesn’t give us a right to continue sinning. In fact, a true understanding of the grace of God should motivate us to repent from our sin. For this reason, Paul asks in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” He then answers this rhetorical question by stating with great boldness, “May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”
One who understands the grace of God understands that it was sin that Jesus died for. Jesus died for sin so we could die to sin. Continuing in sin so that grace may increase is utter foolishness. In fact, continuing in sin is trampling over the grace that God has freely offered to the whosoever will. We don’t continue in sin, we consider ourselves dead to sin and accept the death to sin by placing our faith in Christ.
Once we consider ourselves dead to sin we consider ourselves alive to Jesus. Jesus died for our sins to make it possible for us to live for Him. Romans 6:3-7 says, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.”
Romans 6 explains that through Christ we have died to sin but come alive to God. The full circle of repentance isn’t just turning away from the bad stuff but is turning to Jesus. Only through Jesus can we truly repent. Only through Jesus do we have the freedom from sin. Therefore, when we repent of our sin we turn from our sin while turning to Jesus trusting that He will keep us from sin.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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