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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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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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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 24:47-47, “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 shall we 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 chose 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 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 unrepented 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 unrepented and living in sin. He said not to even eat with such a one. (I Corinthians 5:11). Associating with an unrepented 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 it.

When we share our faith with sinners we must preach repentance. A gospel proclaimed without repentance is no gospel at all. We are setting the hearer up for failure if we do not proclaim the need to repent. Not preaching repentance is as foolish as a patient going to see a doctor for a chronic cough and the doctor not wanting to pry into the patient’s personal life by telling him he needs to stop smoking and simply gives him cough syrup instead. Smoking is clearly the root of his problem, just as sin is the root of our separation from God.

When preaching repentance we must do so with the love and compaction of Christ. While preaching repentance we must have a heart of love desiring the sinner to turn from his sin and trust in Jesus. God will not bless the efforts of the self righteous who simply want to condemn the sinner for his sin. We must get the log out of our eye before we can get the spec out of others. Remember, such were some of us. We once were sinners in need of salvation. Who are we to condemn others for their sins? We repented and received grace. This too should be our heart. It most certainly is Gods.  For this reason out of an act of love and compassion knowing the destructive power of sin, we preach repentance.

true_repentance

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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