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What is Biblical Repentance?

What is Biblical Repentance?

Some think that repentance is getting their act together or straightening their life out. They think that they need to get their lives right prior to turning to God. The fact is, we cannot straighten our lives out on our own. Only God can do that. For this reason Christ died for us while we were still sinners. We can’t simply change our sinful nature. Trying to do that on our own is a works based salvation, which isn’t a salvation at all, that will only lead one into legalism, or drive one away from the true gospel of grace altogether.
True biblical repentance will result in a change of action and a change in our life style but it must first take place in the heart of man. Biblical repentance doesn’t start with action, it starts with reaction. It starts with a reaction to grace. In the fifth chapter of Romans Paul explains how a just God justifies unjust sinners. The fact is, we cannot comprehend this truth. We can comprehend being saved by faith through the works of Christ on the cross but can never comprehend how or why He who knew no sin became sin for you and I and how or why a God who is just in every way can justify a sinner like you and I.
We can comprehend the means by which we are justified, the blood of Jesus, and why God chose to justify us, to save us from His wrath. Romans 5:9 tells us, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” We can also comprehend how we receive this justification since Romans 5:1 tells us that we are justified by faith. However, Romans 5:10 tells us, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” We can never comprehend why God would choose to save us through the death of His own Son Jesus even though we have set ourselves up as His enemy by sinning against Him. This fact of the gospel is simply incomprehensible.
Though we cannot fully comprehend this truth we recognize it as God mercy and grace. What is mercy? Mercy is God withholding from us what we deserve; we deserve His wrath. What is grace? Grace is God giving to us what we do not deserve. We do not deserve salvation through the shed blood and through the death of His Son Jesus. Though we don’t deserve it, God chose to offer it to us anyway. Again, incomprehensible.
For this reason, true biblical repentance isn’t action alone; it is reaction that results into action. Biblical repentance is a reaction to the recognition of the grace of God. A reaction to the abundance of grace Paul mentions in Romans 8:17. True biblical repentance starts with a change of though. It starts with considering yourself dead to sin and alive to God. It starts with keeping your eyes focused on the things above rather than the things below. It starts with the comprehension that every sin, and everything on this earth, pales in comparison to the wonderful abundant grace God freely offers to those who will receive. The unrepentant stay unrepentant because they don’t understand God’s grace. The repentant love God because God first loved them. (I John 4:19). The repentant love Jesus and will therefore obey Him. (John 14:15). The truly repentant person will willing forsake sin and live for Jesus as a direct reaction to the grace they have freely been offered.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Follow Me

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 nor have I ever had a personal relationship with them. I do however know Jesus, because I have committed myself to following Him and I therefore have a personal relationship with 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.”

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Repentance Required

Repentance Required

After the resurrection of Jesus He spent forty day’s with His disciples opening their eyes to the scriptures teaching them the reason He came so they could proclaim the gospel to all creation. Jesus told them that one of the requirements of accepting the gospel message was repentance from sin. Jesus said in Luke 24:46-47, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

What did Jesus mean when He said “repentance for forgiveness of sin?” When we believe on Jesus we believe on all of who He is, all of what He has done, and all of what He has taught. Jesus preached repentance of sin and holy living. True faith in Christ requires repentance from sin, for we believe what he taught.

After Peter preached the first gospel message just after he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit the crowd was pierced to the heart and asked Peter what they should do. They wanted to know how they were to respond to the gospel. Peter said they needed to repent. (Acts 2:38).

Sin hinders our relationship with God. It was our sins that Jesus went to the cross to pay for. When we choose not to repent we are telling God that we are not truly interested in a relationship with Him and that we would rather live our lives our own way through our own strength and wisdom. Make no mistake people who refuse to repent refuse a relationship and fellowship with God. John said in I John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” In other words, if we say we are walking with God yet we are living in open rebellious unrepentant sin we are liars. However, I John 1:6 says, “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” We walk in the light when we have repented of our sin and received the cleansing power of the blood of Christ that paid for our sin.

Paul went so far as to tell us not to associate with any “so-called” believer who is unrepentant and living in sin. He said not to even eat with such a one. (I Corinthians 5:11). Associating with an unrepentant individual only gives them a false since of salvation. If there is no repentance, there is no salvation.

In the next chapter he gives a non-comprehensive list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. In I Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul said, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” Does this mean that anyone who has ever been drunk or stolen anything will not be saved? Of course not. Paul is declaring their identity. This is who they are and how they live. This is the identifying mark of their lives. They are identified as a drunkard or a thief or whatever the life of sin is that they have not repented of. Paul went on to say in the next verse, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Such were some of you, but not anymore, for they had repented and were washed with the blood of Christ. The Christians identity is found in Christ-not sin.

Does this mean that those who slip into sin from time to time are not saved? Galatians 2:11 tells us that Paul opposed Peter to his face because he stood condemned. Peter was being a hypocrite acting one way in front of the gentiles and another way in front of the Jews. Was he condemned to hell for his hypocrisy? Of course not. Peter was very much a saved man that loved Jesus with his whole heart. He was eventually martyred for his faith. He however, slipped into sin and needed someone like Paul to help set him straight. Those who are indentified with sin due to their lack of repentance are not saved. Christians can and will slip into sin from time to time. They however, will be convicted of their sin and repent. An unsaved person however, will live in sin with absolutely no conviction or remorse and be perfectly happy in their sin.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Not Everyone Who Say’s to Me Lord, Lord.

Not Everyone Who Say’s to Me Lord, Lord.

Now that we have a better understanding of the gospel we need to be clear on what true biblical Christianity is. There are two extremes in our world today. We first see the one who believes his good works can get him to heaven and then we find the unrepentant accepting Jesus as a ticket to heaven although they truly don’t love Him nor have any desire to live for Him.

Let’s be clear, not everyone who calls himself a Christian is truly a Christian. One of the most freighting statements that Jesus ever made is found in Matthew 7:21-23 where He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

First Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord. Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.” These are people who are calling Jesus Lord. Then Jesus said that they are doing works in His name. Why would these people not be saved? Jesus gave us a better understanding of why these people are not truly disciples of Jesus when He quoted the prophet Isaiah in Matthew 15:8, “THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.”

Much like the Pharisees who honored God with their lips they don’t truly know God or follow Him with their heart. They are too consumed in the accomplishment of self to serve God. They are more interested in the rules and rituals of religion than they are with seeking a relationship with the Lord. They are more concerned with the pat on the back than they are with the praise of the Lord. They are more in love with the idea of heaven than they are with the King of Glory and are more interested in building their kingdom than His. Their actions point to self rather than the Savior therefore, they honor Him with their lips but their hearts are far from Him. Jesus said that they “practice lawlessness.” Where is your heart today?

Jesus said that He will say to these people on the day of judgment, “I never knew you.” Not that He once knew them and they slipped away but, He never knew them, therefore, they never truly knew Him. Since their heart was set on serving self rather than the Savior they never knew Jesus nor served Him. They never had a genuine relationship with Jesus.

Another frightening statement that Jesus made in this scripture was, “many will say to me Lord, Lord,” Many! Just before Jesus made this statement He said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mathew 7:13-14.) According to Jesus only a few will be saved while many reject Him and are lost.

It is abundantly clear that the people out in the world who live lives in absolute rebellion against God are not saved. However, Jesus is now telling us that there are many who are serving in ministries that are not saved; teachers, deacons, pastors, and the faithful who sit in the pew week after week; yes, even tithers. They look Christian, they act Christian, they talk Christian, they do Christian acts, but Jesus said their walk is not genuine. There is no doubt that they think their walk is genuine. However, they fall under the category of people who believed in vain. (I Corinthians 15:1.)

Let me give a strong warning here. It is not our job to sit on the judgment seat and try to figure out who these folks are. Remember, they look and act Christian and because they are trying to be saved by their works and religion rather than a genuine relationship with Jesus they may act more Christian than some of the genuine Christians sitting in the pews. If God opened our eyes to the spiritual realm and allowed us to see who was saved and who wasn’t we would more than likely be astounded.

What we need to do is examine our own hearts and ask ourselves, do we genuinely love and live for Jesus or, are we simply in love with the idea of Jesus but truly longing for the benefits we will reap from Him. Friends, Jesus is the Pearl of Great Price, He is our greatest treasure and our greatest reward. If He, and he alone is not who fills your heart you stand in great need of repentance, and stand in grave danger of Jesus rebuke.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Our Sin Has Declared War Against God!

Our Sin Has Declared War Against God!

There has been many a Christmas song written over the years reciting the angelic message to the shepherds on the first Christmas of God offering of peace on earth and good will towards men. (Luke 2:14). The Christmas carols often recite them with a focus on world peace. One even requests, “Pray for peace people everywhere.” However, these writers of the beloved Christmas carols have a great misunderstanding of what God’s peace offering truly is. Though His second coming will bring world peace, Jesus first coming wasn’t to bring peace among the nations, rather, it’s purpose was to bring peace between God and individuals who accept His peace offering.

Jesus said in Matthew 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Jesus didn’t come to establish a kingdom of this world but rather a spiritual kingdom that is in the heart of man rather than this physical realm. Jesus also said in Matthew 10:34, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Since Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” Jesus clearly wasn’t stating that Christians are to be at war against the world, rather, the world is at war against Christians.

Clearly the peace that God offers through His Son Jesus, which was announced by the angelic host, was a personal offering to each individual. Truly, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”, but only “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” The offering of peace with God is available to the whole world, but only received by the whosoever that will call upon the name of the Lord. The offering of peace with God is available to all but only received by the individual who accepts it by receiving His Son.

Why then do we need to be at peace with God? Because our sin has declared war against God. On December 7th, 1942 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor as a declaration of war against the United States. In the same way, each time we sin we attack God declaring war against His sovereignty and holiness. James 4:4 states, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” The Japanese may have awakened a sleeping giant but the sinner’s fate in the hands of a righteous and just God is far more dreadful. Hebrews 10:31 tells us, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

But the good news is, God has offered to all who will receive an offering of peace. God’s peace offering that is His very own Son. His Son who was born in the flesh that first Christmas morn, His Son who laid down that same flesh that first Good Friday, His Son who was resurrected defeating sin, death, hell, and the grave forevermore, His Son who is available today to whoever will accept His offering of peace. Colossians 1:19-20 says, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

Our sins declared war against God yet it was God who offered us an offering of peace, not through the birth of His Son, but through the blood of His Son. God would have been just to destroy us for our sins and will be just in punishing those who reject His offer of peace. But praise be to God that He has offered us mercy and grace through His Son where we not only find peace in God, we are at peace with God. Truly, His grace is amazing!

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

 

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The Wages of Sin is Death

The Wages of Sin is Death

Romans 6:23 tells us that, “the wages of sin is death.” For this reason Jesus died to pay the price for sin. Not that He sinned, but that He took upon Himself the sin of all humanity and died for all who would accept Him as their atoning sacrifice and therefore be cleansed of their sin. I Corinthians 5:21 says, “He (God) made Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

In Genesis we see God fellowshipping with His new creation Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God told them of every tree in the garden they can eat free, with the exception of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said if they eat of that tree they shall surly die. (Genesis 2:16).

Although Adam and Eve tried to pass the blame of their sin to another, they were still held accountable for their actions resulting in the fall of all humanity. They could not blame the serpent for their sin. They made a conscious choice, do we obey God or disobey God. Although they knew the command of God and the consequences of their disobedience they personally chose to disobey God thus they sinned.

Did Adam and Eve die that day as God said they would? Yes. They died spiritually. They lost fellowship with God and were removed from the Garden of Eden and cast into a mean cruel world now corrupted by sin to labor by the sweat of their brow until the day they physically died. Sin has grave consequences. Had Adam and Eve not chosen to sin they would still be alive today. They would not have earned the wages of sin.

The bible speaks of three types of death, spiritual death, physical death, and the second death which is eternal death. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,” and again in Colossians 2:13, “you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh.” Paul wasn’t talking to people who were physically dead but spiritually dead.

Sin separates us from God. God’s heart is to have a relationship with us. However, sin prevents us from having that relationship with Him. Separation from God is spiritual death. For this reason Jesus died for us so our sins can be forgiven and we would no longer be spiritual dead but alive in Christ and through Christ. Romans 6:23 not only tells us that the wages of sin is death but also says that the free gift of God is eternal life. Accepting the sacrificial atonement of Christ cleanses us from our sins and reconciles us into a right relationship with God.

Unless we are caught up in the rapture we will all die physically. However, we are not physical beings, we are spiritual. For those who have accepted Jesus atoning sacrifice and received salvation from their sins the bible says, “I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” There they will remain with the Lord spiritually until the resurrection of the dead where they will be given resurrected and glorified bodies, the same type of body that Jesus already has.

Those who refuse to accept Christ’s atoning work of salvation from their sins will then stand before God after their physical death and be judged for their sins. At the time of their judgment they will be cast into the eternal lake of fire where there is no longer any hope of redemption. The bible calls this the second death. (Revelation 20:11-15).

For this reason the church and every individual Christian should take with absolute urgency the mandate to preach the gospel to all creation. How else will they know? If they choose to reject, they have made their choice. However, they have made the choice with the knowledge of the command of God to accept His Son, and the consequences of choosing not to.                      If you have never accepted the free gift of God’s salvation understand that you are not promised tomorrow. You are not even promised a second breath. I have lived long enough to be shocked at the announcement of many people death. I was just as surprised by their sudden death as anyone else was. I we all were surprised by their sudden death wouldn’t they have been as well. It’s to late for them to make a choice, but you can choose the Lord today.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel?

The word gospel is used ninety nine times in the NASB. The Greek word that is translated into gospel comes in two forms. It is either used as the noun eungelion that literally means good news or as the verb euangelizeo referring to the announcer of good news.

The gospel or the good news is specifically about Jesus. The Angel of the Lord came to Joseph and encouraged him to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife. The Angel of the Lord said to Joseph in regards to this child Mary miraculously conceived, “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). If the message is not centered in and on Jesus and His work of redemption on the cross it is not a true Gospel.

The term gospel is used with many references and descriptions in the New Testament. It is called the gospel of grace in Acts 20:24, the gospel of the kingdom in Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 24:15, the gospel of peace in Ephesians 6:15, and an eternal gospel in Revelation 14:6. However, the gospel is clearly rooted in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mark introduced his gospel as, “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Paul in his introduction of the book of Romans, which is a declaration of the gospel, calls the gospel, “the gospel of His Son.” (Romans 1:9).

Jesus being born of a virgin as the Son of God was uniquely qualified to be the savior of the world. He was also uniquely qualified to be the atoning sacrifice for sin because of His sinless nature and the fact that He fulfilled all righteousness. For this reason Jesus is the only means to salvation. Jesus Himself said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Acts 4:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Paul told the church of Corinth that he declared unto them the gospel. He then went on to tell them exactly what the gospel was. He said in I Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” The work of the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul said that this message was of first importance meaning that it should be the priority in our lives. Apart from the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ there is no good news. Apart from the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus all humanity would stand hopelessly lost condemned in their sins awaiting eternal damnation.

The fact of the gospel is not the good news in and of itself. Just knowing the fact of the person of Jesus and the fact of the works of Jesus do not save us. The gospel becomes the good news for our lives when we allow it to have an impact on our lives. Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior should change every area of our lives as we make it of first importance to us.

The gospel fist impacts our lives for today. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” When we receive Jesus as our savior He comes to live within us empowering us to live for Him allowing us to reap the benefits of a relationship with God as a child or God, a joint heir in Christ Jesus, a holy nation and a royal priesthood. Jesus gives us life today, and not ordinary life that simply exists, He gives us abundant life. Certainly no one should want to die without knowing Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They will be eternally condemned to hell if they do. However, if one were to live to be one hundred and twenty years old he shouldn’t want to live even a moment separated from the abundant life that Jesus freely offers.

The fact still remains that we will not live in these fleshly vessels forever. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” If we die physically without knowing Jesus as our savior we will then be judged for our sins. The punishment for our sins is eternity separated from God in hell. However, those who have accepted Jesus as their savior will not be judge for their sins. The impact of the cross has blotted out our sins and removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We will live for eternity in the paradise of heaven with the Lord. This truly is good news. A good news worth of accepting, and a good news worthy of sharing.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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